After a rigorous battle, the results are in…
Now that the election is over, Florida solar can rejoice! Floridians have voted to defeat Amendment 1, largely by a powerful grassroots effort on social media.
Leading up to the November General Election ballot, a heavyweight battle emerged regarding Amendment 1 between utilities, represented by Consumers for Smart Solar, and solar freedom proponents, represented by Floridians for Solar Choice (FSC). Notable utility-aligned entities such as Duke Energy, FPL, and TECO drummed support for Consumers for Smart Solar to the tune of over $20 million. FSC, as an underdog, however, came in shining bright with support around $1.6 million.
Despite the discrepancy in financial backing, Amendment 1’s lights were turned off in favor of solar freedom. From solar industry workers to concerned citizens, many were enthralled to see the vast amount of attention and support in shooting down Amendment 1’s proposals. Undeterred by Consumers for Smart Solar’s aggressive direct mail campaign, FSC won with the counterpunch of social media and word of mouth.
Thank you Facebook, thank you Twitter, thank you Google, and thank you Florida!
So what does this mean for Floridians? Simply put, it means giving power back to the people. According to FSC, “Solar is poised to grow in the Sunshine State, which would allow customers to generate their own power and buy less from the electric utilities.” Additionally, FSC emphasizes a passing of Amendment 1 “paves the way for barriers that would penalize solar companies.” Thankfully such did not occur, with FSC further citing, “Floridians already have the right to purchase or lease solar equipment and are fully protected under Florida’s existing consumer protection laws.” In other words, citizens across the state–from Tampa Bay and Saint Petersburg to Orlando and Miami–the power is back with you. The failed Amendment allows YOU to take advantage of clean, renewable energy NOW while tax incentives exist and utilities regroup.
Although Amendment 1’s results directly affect Floridians, states across the nation were intently watching. Regarding Amendment 1, Erik Curren of Curren Media Group, a solar marketing firm based in Virginia, states, “…utilities will surely use it as a model to attack incentives that help homeowners get solar in other states. And that could slow the spread of solar across America, even in states where it’s been growing the fastest, like California, Arizona, or New York.”
Did you catch that? NEW YORK?!
Yes, my beloved Floridians, New York. The Sunshine State is a dismal #14 nationally in solar installations, per Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). In comparison, as SEIA further indicates, New York consistently ranks in the top 10, and with the announcement of the NY-SUN initiative (a 10-year $1 BILLION commitment), New York’s solar rooftop solar potential is “sky high.” Coupled with such an aggressive initiative, New York also enjoys solar-friendly policies such as feed-in tariffs (source: SEIA). Floridians, we must do our part in embracing solar as much as industry leaders California, Arizona, and New York; we must champion our title as “Sunshine State” in not only learning from such states but eventually surpassing them.
So YES, Floridians, Amendment 1 failed. And YES, that is overwhelmingly good news for Florida citizens as well as the solar industry. We should rejoice and we will. The battle with utilities is long from over, but if the failing of Amendment 1 is any indication, Floridians are prepared for battle. New York is ahead of us and we have work to do. From groups such as Floridians for Solar Choice to social media efforts, we are making sure the power is yours. The power to act now in solar–NOW is the time for the Sunshine State solar to shine!
Need more information on going green and ready to take the next step? We are here for you at Bay Area Solar Solutions LLC, where your solar needs come first!