The Florida Supreme Court has approved an initiative for the 2016 ballot that could open up the solar power markets in Florida. Currently, Floridians can’t buy electricity from sources other than utilities. The ballot initiative wants to make it possible for them to buy electricity generated by anyone in the state who has a solar power system. In order to get on the 2016 ballot, 683,149 signatures still need to be collected. If that happens, 60% of the voters would need to choose it in order for it to be passed.
You can imagine how much the electricity markets in Florida would change if this were to pass, as the utilities would no longer have a monopoly and would most likely have their business models altered. Put simply, the utilities stand to lose revenue if new electricity providers begin to operate in their territory.
Successful solar power companies like SunRun and SolarCity can’t do business in Florida because they install solar power systems for free and sell electricity too. One fascinating thing about the situation in Florida is that it isn’t so much about being “green.” The people who want to open up the electricity markets believe that it might stimulate the economy by allowing anyone with a solar power system to sell electricity into the grid network, thereby providing them with opportunities to make money. Imagine if you are the owner of a commercial building with plenty of rooftop space, you could have a solar power system installed and generate your own electricity, some of which could be sold.
Predictably, the opponents of this new potential electricity market are trying to malign solar power and its supporters.
Florida is something of a solar power battleground. It has enough sunlight to be a top solar power producer in the United States, but politics has been preventing it from becoming so. It appears that the advocacy work being done by organizations like Floridians for Solar Choice is gradually shifting attitudes. Just take a look at all the organizations supporting FSC:
All WoMen Rising
Audubon Society of the Everglades
Clean Water Action
The Cleo Institute
The Climate Reality Project
Collier Citizens for Sustainability
Conservancy of Southwest Florida
Conservatives for Responsible Stewardship
Earth Ethics, Inc.
Ecology Party of Florida
Environmental Coalition of Miami & the Beaches (ECOMB)
Environmental Defense Fund
Evangelical Environmental Network
Florida Alliance for Retired Americans
Florida Green Chamber of Commerce
Florida Renewable Energy Association (FREA)
Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association
Florida Wildlife Federation
Friends of the Everglades
Green Party of Florida
H & H Design and Construction Inc.
Hands Across the Sand
IDEAS for Us
Interfaith Justice League
League of Women Voters of Florida
Libertarian Party of Seminole County
Physicians for Social Responsibility, Florida
ReThink Energy Florida
Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation
Sierra Club Florida
South Florida Audubon Society
South Florida Wildlands Association
Space Coast Climate Change Initiative
Space Coast Progressive Alliance
Stewards Of Sustainability (SoS)
Sunshine State Interfaith Power and Light
The Tea Party Network
Tropical Audubon Society
Venice Area Audubon Society
WISE – Women in Solar Energy
Image Credit: Infrogmation, Wiki Commons