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Group Backing Controversial Solar Amendment Raises $5.8 Million in April

| May 11, 2016

Fueled by major electric utilities, the group backing a controversial solar-energy initiative on the November ballot raised $8.52 million during April, according to numbers posted Tuesday on the state Division of Elections website.

The haul came after the Florida Supreme Court on March 31 signed off on the proposed constitutional amendment by the group known as “Consumers for Smart Solar.” The group got most of its money in April from four major utilities. Those contributions were $2.8 million from Florida Power & Light; $2.7 million from Duke Energy; $1.3 million from Tampa Electric Company; and $874,450 from Gulf Power Co.

The Consumers for Smart Solar measure would generally maintain the status quo in allowing Floridians with solar equipment on their property to sell energy to power companies. The Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, a key opponent of the Consumers for Smart Solar proposal, has argued that the ballot language simply puts existing solar rules into the state Constitution to the benefit of the power companies. Consumers for Smart Solar, which had $8.66 million on hand to begin May, spent $74,606 during April, according to the group’s new filing.

From Ballotpedia:

The Florida Right to Solar Energy Choice Initiative, also known as Amendment 1, is on the November 8, 2016, ballot in Florida as an initiated constitutional amendment.

A vote “for” the measure would add a section in the state constitution giving residents of Florida the right to own or lease solar energy equipment for personal use.
A vote “against” the measure would prevent the addition of this right to the constitution.

The measure would also ensure that those who do not produce their own solar energy would not be required to subsidize the costs of electric grid access and backup power to those who do.

–News Service of Florida and FlaglerLive

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