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The Truth About Florida’s Amendment 1

Lets breakdown the wording of Amendment 1 to understand what is the true intent:

“This amendment establishes a right under Florida’s constitution for consumers to own or lease solar equipment installed on their property to generate electricity for their own use.”

That sounds all well and good, but it is already the case that consumers have the right to own or lease their own solar equipment. So the point is completely mute and put in as a decoy from the actual intent of the amendment.

“State and local governments shall retain their abilities to protect consumer rights and public health, safety and welfare…”

The key word here is “retain”, which is a dead giveaway that again, this sentence doesn’t change anything. And an amendment by definition is supposed to do just that: amend. Of course state and local governments are protecting public health, safety and welfare. To anyone who has ever said that its unsafe to install a solar PV system on a roof top my response is that the amount of scrutiny that the equipment manufacturers and contractors are subjected to during the permitting and inspection process is incredible. I could probably go on for literally hours about the safety measures built in to both the individual components and into the system as a whole.

So, to recap, so far, nothing we’ve seen in the wording of Amendment 1 is new. And that’s what brings us to the interesting stuff:

“…and to ensure that consumers who do not choose to install solar are not required to subsidize the costs of backup power and electric grid access to those who do.” This sentence is what Amendment 1 is really about. Hiding after all the other stuff discussed, so it sounds like its positive.

This small sentence has so much built into it its amazing. First of all, there is an assumption of subsidies. This statement presumes that it is already the case that customers who do not choose to go solar are in fact currently subsidizing customers who do go solar.

Could this be true? In theory, yes (after all solar customers are using the grid). However in actuality, it is far from the case. The reality is that solar customers are actually supporting the grid for the very simple reason that the time of day that solar customers are likely to backfeed power onto the grid through their net meter is when the sun is at its peak, which coincides with peak consumption hours of the general public. This is also the same time that it is the most expensive for utilities to produce power (peak demand). Here is one of the most important articles written about the net impact on the grid of the net metering arrangement:

https://www.brookings.edu/research/rooftop-solar-net-metering-is-a-net-benefit/

In short, Amendment 1 is written to be deceptive, and it utilizes “political jujitsu” (Sal Nuzzo of the James Madison Institute). See the leaked audio here: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/politics-government/election/article109017387.html

I would prefer if my amendments were about communication, not martial arts. The amendment hides behind rosy language to cover up what its actual intent is. Which is to impose a fee onto solar customers, which could ultimately debilitate the solar industry in Florida as it has in Nevada.

In short, if you are in favor of clean energy in the state of Florida, please vote NO on Amendment 1.