With a political election dominating the public attention, its easy to forget that there are various laws, positions, and amendments to vote on nationally and locally. Here in Florida, we have Amendment 1 that deals with solar energy equipment regulations. This is an extremely important amendment that could give Florida citizens the right to have their own personal solar panels on their property. The problem is the amendment is worded so that voters who want to have privately owned solar panels would want to vote yes. In reality if you want freedom of solar energy you need to vote no, and wait for the proper amendment to be drafted.
When I first read the amendment I was inclined to agree and vote yes but there is a lot of deception in the wording of the amendment. The slyly-worded amendment, “establishes a right under Florida’s constitution for consumers to own or lease solar equipment installed on their property to generate electricity for their own use. State and local governments shall retain their abilities to protect consumer rights and public health, safety and welfare, and to ensure that consumers who do not choose to install solar are not required to subsidize the costs of backup power and electric grid access to those who do”. What it really means is that if you have solar panels you can be charged fees when you cannot produce your own energy and have to receive some from the grid. It also will not allowed you to have “third party ownership”. This is the most common form of solar where a company comes to your house, installs panels, and then charges you at a discounted rate for the power.
According to President and Founder of IDEAS For Us, Chris Castro, “The Amendment 1 ballot that we will vote on this November is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Essentially the big utilities have misinformed voters, and are trying to put into the constitution what is currently law to maintain the current monopoly model in Florida and make it more difficult to enable third-party solar providers in the Sunshine State. If you are pro-Solar and want to see clean energy in Florida, we need to remember to vote “YES” in August to exempt the current solar tax, and vote “NO” in November to maintain a window of opportunity to unlock third-party solar in the sunshine state.”
Being the sunshine state you would think our government and officials would want to take advantage of the free energy given by Mother Nature but alas the money hungry politicians would rather take a donation then help its’ own citizens and preserve our environment. So when you head to the polls in November remember, even though Amendment 1 may seem good be sure to Vote NO on 1.