The Right to Have Home Solar Power, Florida ( Solar Thermal Magazine)
Just one month after a broad coalition announced the launch of Floridians for Solar Choice – a petition campaign to gain a place on the 2016 ballot to give voters the chance to expand solar choice in Florida – campaign representatives announced today that 100,000 signatures have already been gathered and nearly 1,000 supporters and volunteers have joined the campaign.
Campaign representatives also announced that the diverse coalition of businesses, conservative groups and environmental organizations has grown even broader with the addition of Clean Water Action, Environment Florida, Evangelical Environmental Network, Greenpeace USA, IDEAS for Us, Physicians for Social Responsibility Florida, ReThink Energy Florida, Sierra Club Florida and The Tea Party Network who join the founding organizations: Christian Coalition of America, Conservatives for Energy Freedom, Florida Alliance for Renewable Energy, Florida Retail Federation, Florida Solar Energy Industries Association, Libertarian Party of Florida, Republican Liberty Caucus of Florida, Republican Liberty Caucus of Tampa Bay, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy and WTEC.
These diverse groups have come together in an unprecedented effort to bring awareness to the benefits of solar power and the importance of free market energy policies for Floridians across the state.
“We are pleased by the strong support we’ve received from around the state,” said Tory Perfetti, Chairman of the Floridians for Solar Choice political action committee and Florida Director of Conservatives for Energy Freedom.
In roughly one month, we have received thousands of petitions from more than 170 Florida cities from Altoona to Zephyrhills with more coming in every day.
“The Tea Party Network and conservatives have always championed private property rights and free market competition. The Floridians for Solar Choice ballot initiative will advance the rights of property owners to sell solar energy produced on their private property to their neighbors or tenants,” said Catherine Baer, Chair of The Tea Party Network.
“Florida is the Sunshine State and its citizens deserve the freedom to choose clean electricity from God’s greatest energy source: the sun,” said Rev. Mitchell C. Hescox, President and C.E.O. of the Evangelical Environmental Network.
We support Floridians For Solar Choice and their efforts to make clean affordable energy available to all without the barriers imposed by current law. Having the right to choose solar will lower electric costs and defend our children’s health by reducing pollution. It’s time to move toward a new clean energy future, and Floridians For Solar Choice is a big step in the right direction.
“The solar industry is as motivated and energized as they have ever been around a solar policy initiative. Within the past month we have engaged over 75 businesses who are mobilizing their staff, volunteers, and customers to spread out across Florida and gather signatures and build support for this critical initiative,” said Mike Antheil, Executive Director of the Florida Solar Energy Industries Association (FlaSEIA).
We have also confirmed businesses in every major metro area in Florida to act as Volunteer Distribution Centers. With the participation of these businesses, we have established an unprecedented infrastructure that is ready to bring this amendment to the ballot in 2016.
“Gaining 100,000 signatures is an important milestone for the Floridians for Solar Choicecampaign: it shows an extremely favorable early response by Florida citizens and, once the signatures are processed through the Supervisors of Elections, it will trigger the critical phase of the Florida Supreme Court’s review of the ballot language,” said Dr. Stephen A. Smith, Executive Director of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy.
In this era of so much partisan gridlock, we are heartened to see groups from the right and the left coming together to give Floridians a voice and a choice on solar power.
Florida is one of only five states where current law expressly denies citizens and businesses the freedom to buy solar power electricity directly from someone other than a monopoly electric utility, or government-owned electric utility.