Florida’s Amendment 1, relating to solar energy and appearing on the Nov. 8 ballot, has been the subject of much contention and confusion among voters.
A press release Thursday from Florida Council for Safe Communities Chairman John Giotis offered support for the amendment.
The amendment, if passed, would add a section in the state constitution about solar use, “giving residents of Florida the right to own or lease solar energy equipment for personal use while also enacting constitutional protection for any state or local law ensuring that residents who do not produce solar energy can abstain from subsidizing its production,” according to Ballotpedia.
A vote against it, however, would leave solar energy use a right for Floridians not enshrined in its constitution.
The release from Giotis warns against voting no on Amendment 1, saying that in spite of the confusing language, Amendment 1 would actually work to protect lower-income residents of the state.
“Amendment 1 will protect the poorest citizens in Florida from being required to subsidize the wealthiest citizens. Safeguarding our low-income neighbors while promoting expanded energy options is a win for everyone in our great state, and we hope our fellow Floridians will pass this important amendment to our state constitution.”
On the other side, Orange County League of Women Voters contact Marty Sullivan said the amendment is deceptive — and wouldn’t do what proponents say it will.
Sullivan repeated the criticism opponents have leveled at it for most of the summer — the amendment is a tool intended to restrict energy use, he said, designed to prevent increased energy production by Florida residents.
“It’s not necessary,” Sullivan said. “It provides no new ways of installing solar. It simply restates what’s there, and paves the way for additional fees on solar users.”
Sullivan said the amendment was bolstered by the big energy companies, and intended to stymie and confuse voters about a different amendment that would have actually helped solar, but didn’t get enough signatures to land on the ballot this year. The main contributors to Amendment 1 are Duke Energy, Florida Power & Light, Tampa Electric Company, Gulf Power Company and 60 Plus Association, according to Ballotpedia.
The adoption of restrictions on solar energy in states like Nevada has actually hurt solar production, Sullivan said.