The Florida Alliance for Retired Americans (FLARA) has endorsed the Solar Choice Initiative, which would help expand the solar power market in Florida. Currently, Florida law does not allow local residents or businesses to buy solar power unless it is from a utility.
The Solar Choice Initiative has been proposed so anyone living in Florida that installs a solar power system would have the right to sell electricity generated by it on the open market. One might call this relatively open policy a “democratization of energy.”
You might also say that, if there was greater competition in the Florida energy markets, the local utilities might have to alter their prices. As it stands now, there isn’t a free market when it comes to electricity in Florida. Obviously, consumers and businesses don’t have a full range of choices in such a situation.
“The Florida Alliance for Retired Americans wholeheartedly endorses the Solar Choice Amendment. We believe Floridians for Solar Choice offers needed consumer protections — especially for vulnerable seniors who often have to choose between medicine and a power bill — by helping to lock in energy prices with solar power. As we face a wave of baby boomers retiring, solar can help lower electricity bills while protecting precious natural resources for future generations,” explained Bill Sauers, President of The Florida Alliance for Retired Americans.
You can imagine easily how an energy bill for a person living on a fixed income who probably isn’t working can consume a significant portion of one’s monthly income. For example, a retiree living on $1,000 a month who pays $150 per month for electricity and natural gas would surely like to pay less. Having to pay 15% of one’s monthly income for energy is steep and adds up quickly.
Obviously, Florida has an abundance of sunshine, yet solar power has not been well utilized there, historically. Because Republicans in the state have typically not supported renewable energy, Florida has not come close to realizing its solar power potential.
It was members of the Tea Party, along with more traditional Republicans and some liberals who started up the solar ballot initiative in Florida. You probably have often heard political conservatives talking about allowing the “free market” to operate without government interference, but solar power in Republican-dominated Florida has not been allowed to operate freely, even though there is enough sunshine to easily do so.
Curiously, solar power has decreased in price enough that, in some cases, it is cost-competitive with conventional forms of electricity production that typically come from burning fossil fuels. In other words, installing solar power systems makes good economic sense, so the choice is increasingly less about the environmental benefits, though those remain big advantages.