Floridians for Solar Choice has secured 100,000 petition signatures to obtain a place on the 2016 ballot after only one month of collecting signatures. Should the campaign secure enough signatures, Florida voters would be able to vote in 2016 to expand solar choice.
“We are pleased by the strong support we’ve received from around the state. 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,” stated Tory Perfetti, Chairman of the Floridians for Solar Choice political action committee.
Currently, Florida law does not allow citizens to purchase solar power from anyone other than an electric utility. Expanding solar choice in Florida would mean allowing direct purchasing of solar power from sources other than utilities, such as a small business that installed a solar panel array and produced more electricity than it used. The excess could be sold in a free market system. Homeowners might be able to also generate their own electricity and sell to buyers on the open market too.
Obviously, opening up the solar energy market in Florida would probably not be something local utilities would prefer, but according to some, utilities have had a monopoly on electricity in American for too long. In fact, one could argue that what the utilities have been doing for a long time is actually hurting local economies by controlling most energy production and consumption.
If everyday people can generate their own electricity and sell it, they don’t need a “middle man” like a utility for most of their electricity. They also could generate a side income to supplement their primary one. Opening up such possibilities is the point of the Floridians for Solar Choice campaign.
“Gaining 100,000 signatures is an important milestone for the Floridians for Solar Choice campaign: 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,” explained Dr. Stephen A. Smith, Executive Director of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy.
Florida is clearly a Republican state, and Republican politicians historically have opposed renewable energy. However, normal voting Republicans have historically supported it, especially solar. Some of them — including a number of Tea Party members — are clearly for solar choice in Florida, a state where there is plenty of sunshine and where it makes no sense to not expand solar power.
Image Credit: paulkondratuk3194, Wiki Commons
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