Pro-Solar Constitutional Amendment in Florida Gaining Momentum
Tuesday, May 26 2015
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Calling it a “huge momentum boost,” the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) today praised two Florida newspapers, The Gainesville Sun and Ocala Star-Banner, for their editorial support of a pro-solar, statewide ballot initiative organized by Floridians for Solar Choice.
Today, only Florida and a handful of other states ban their residents from buying electricity from companies that put solar panels on homes and businesses. The proposed constitutional amendment, which needs 683,149 signatures to get on the 2016 ballot, would end that prohibition.
Writing in a May 21 editorial, The Gainesville Sun threw its support behind the amendment by observing: “Consumers could save money while making a small contribution toward saving the planet from fossil fuel emissions that contribute to climate change. Jobs would be created by a growing solar industry. Whether for environmental or economic reasons, the solar amendment makes sense. We encourage voters to sign the petition.”
In another editorial on May 25, the Ocala Star-Banner noted: “These power purchase agreements save homeowners the upfront costs of buying solar panels while providing savings on their utility bills. It’s a win-win.”
To date, more than 100,000 signatures have been collected statewide, allowing the ballot language to go before Florida’s Supreme Court for legal review and official approval.
“As an organization – and as an industry – we strongly support the efforts of Floridians for Solar Choice,” said SEIA President and CEO Rhone Resch. “If this ballot initiative is approved, solar development across the state will explode, creating thousands of new jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars in new economic activity. Most importantly, this is about consumer choice. That’s why this initiative is being supported by groups as diverse as the Sierra Club, the Christian Coalition of America, the Florida Retail Federation and the Tea Party Network. These groups all recognize, like we do, that people have a fundamental right to choose their energy source and have a real say in what they pay for their electricity.”
Today, there are 234 megawatts (MW) of installed solar capacity in Florida – enough to power 27,000 homes – ranking the state 13th in the nation. But if the solar ballot initiative is approved next year, Resch said “Florida has the potential to quickly become a Top 5 solar state, while saving money for homeowners, businesses, schools, churches and local governments.”
Nationwide, the U.S. solar industry currently employs 174,000 Americans – more than tech giants Apple, Google, Facebook and Twitter combined – and pumps nearly $18 billion a year into the U.S. economy.
Celebrating its 41st anniversary in 2015, the Solar Energy Industries Association® is the national trade association of the U.S. solar energy industry. Through advocacy and education, SEIA® is building a strong solar industry to power America. As the voice of the industry, SEIA works with its 1,000 member companies to champion the use of clean, affordable solar in America by expanding markets, removing market barriers, strengthening the industry and educating the public on the benefits of solar energy. Visit SEIA online at www.seia.org.