Supporters Want Solar Choice On 2016 Ballot

Jan 14, 2015

Solar energy supporters are trying to get a proposed constitutional amendment on the 2016 ballot. If they succeed, they’ll need at least 60 percent of the vote for it to pass.
Credit Mike Ray/flickr

A petition drive now underway in Florida would get a solar power amendment on the ballot in 2016. If voters approve the proposal, individuals who use the sun to generate electricity would be able to sell that electricity.

For now, only Florida’s utility companies can do that.

Supporters must collect 683,149 signatures to get the proposal before voters. At least 60 percent of voters must approve the amendment for it to be placed in the Constitution.

Tory Perfetti is leading the petition drive. He’s director of the Florida chapter of Conservatives for Energy Freedom and head of the Floridians for Solar Choice ballot initiative.

So your goal is to allow people who generate electricity via the sun to sell the power they generate. Why can’t anybody do that now?

Florida is one of only five states in the United States that by law expressly deny citizens and businesses the freedom to buy solar-power electricity directly from someone other than a monopoly electric utility or government-owned electric utility.

Why just solar energy? Why not also wind or something else?

In regards to politics, it’s hard enough to do one thing well, let alone multiple things well. So we always want to start somewhere, show people the benefits for altering the system to be more consumer-friendly, more business-friendly within the free market, and this is where we’re going to start now.

As it is now, anyone can put solar panels on their house and power their house that way. Why isn’t that good enough?

One of the arguments that you often hear is that I can put solar on my house now and that any changing of the law… is going to only benefit wealthy people. But here’s the thing. Right now, you cannot enter into a contract with a business to have them front the cost of installing that solar on your roof.

A large segment of Florida citizens and businesses aren’t going to be able to afford the current cost of what it would take to put solar on their roof. If this ballot initiative does pass, this will allow the cost to be fronted by the corporation… or whoever you’re dealing with.

Click here to sign the petition.