Citizens Try Democracy to Access Solar. You’ll Never Guess What Utilities Do Next.
Florida is one of four states in the country that prohibit the most popular form of financing for rooftop solar systems. That’s just a manifest wrong and should be righted. Every year, legislation is introduced to change and allow Floridians access to solar financing. And every year, that legislation is shot down. So, in an effort to allow rooftop solar to grow and give Floridians a real choice in making energy decisions, a group of citizens have organized to put the issue on the ballot.
What happened next?
Take it away, newspapers:
“Rather than openly opposing the solar effort, opponents created a rival group, Consumers for Smart Solar, that has confused and obfuscated the legitimate solar effort.”
Naples Florida Weekly: Squandered Sunshine
“The Solar Choice initiative has come under attack from Florida’s major utilities, including FPL”
Tampa Bay Times:
“Soon, the debate over solar power will truly begin.
One constitutional amendment is being reviewed by the state Supreme Court today, and a competing amendment is waiting in the wings.
Should the amendments past muster legally, and if they both meet petition requirements, it will eventually be up to voters to decide on Florida’s solar direction.
And what are the voters’ choices? Either move forward or stand still.
Now, you might be asking yourself, why do we need a constitutional amendment that doesn’t change anything? Good question. The answer is we don’t.
But the state’s power companies are so dead set against the idea of people getting solar power from someone else, they aren’t willing to risk a simple thumbs-up or thumbs-down vote. They’ve put their considerable heft behind the competing amendment, even if it does nothing other than to confuse potential voters.”
Solar is democracy, and in Florida, utilities are trying to undercut both.The fact that Floridians have to go to the ballot to get their solar rights is a travesty. The fact that utilities are fighting it is a tragedy. Under the regulatory compact, utilities are given a monopoly in order to serve the public good. At the very minimum, that means a business plan commensurate with a liveable planet. But if a utility is unwilling to deliver even that, have the grace to step out of the way when customers want to make more responsible choices.
It’s also not serving their best interests. NextEra, the parent company of Florida Power and Light, is trying to buy the Hawaiian Electric Company.
Residents of Hawaii are looking to Florida to understand what they can expect from NextEra — and can you blame them for not liking what they see?