“YES” in August, “NO” in November– This Amendment 1 is BAD

floridianssolar choice logoToday in the Gainesville Sun, Barry Jacobson outlines the facts on solar decisions.  Just remember that the good guys are Floridians for Solar Choice.  We must vote AGAINST Amendment 1 in November, as this is sponsored by the utilities and the Koch brothers who are actually against solar.  ScrollBarry Jacobson: Amendment 1 would only hurt solar in Florida

By Barry Jacobson

Special to The Sun

Published: Thursday, April 21, 2016 at 6:01 a.m.

Last Modified: Tuesday, April 19, 2016 at 5:00 p.m.

Solar constitutional amendments can be confusing and there are some people who are very happy to encourage this confusion.

For example, a group calling itself Consumers for Smart Solar says that they are “a diverse, bipartisan coalition of business, civic, and faith-based organizations working to promote solar energy.” However, they are actually funded by Duke Energy, Florida Power & Light, Gulf Power, Tampa Electric and groups backed by the Koch brothers, according to the Energy and Policy Institute. They are promoting a so-called “smart solar” amendment that would only hurt solar in Florida.

Here are solar amendments that you should know the facts about:

  • In August, you will be asked to vote on two solar amendments that would eliminate property taxes for commercial solar projects. Please vote “yes”! Commercial solar did not pay property taxes until 2009 when it lost this exemption because of a poorly worded amendment that made the residential solar property tax exemption permanent. Eliminating property taxes encourages more solar projects in Florida.
  • Floridians for Solar Choice developed an amendment that allowed citizens to have solar installed on their home or business and to buy the electricity from the solar, typically at less than they’re paying the utility. This is legal in all but four states. This amendment did not receive enough signatures to be on the November ballot, in large part because the major utilities created a similarly named amendment and heavily outspent this amendment for ballot gatherers.
  • Amendment 1/Smart Solar was created by the major utilities and groups backed by the Koch brothers and will be on the November ballot. Please vote “no”! This amendment is clearly designed to protect the utilities from competition and to limit solar options for the citizens for Florida. It would hurt solar.

Remember to vote “yes” in August and “no” in November. The future of solar in Florida depends on you.

— Barry Jacobson is president of Solar Impact Inc., a solar installation company in Gainesville.