Floridians for Solar Choice, a coalition of more than 200 organizations, solar companies, elected officials, and other citizens said Nov. 8 that Sunshine State voters had defeated the utility-backed Amendment 1.
Constitutional amendments in Florida require 60% support to pass. With nearly three-quarters of precincts reporting, the vote was almost evenly split, falling short of the 60% needed, the Tampa Bay Times reported in its online edition.
The measure, was backed by the regulated electric utilities of Duke Energy (NYSE:DUK) and NextEra Energy (NYSE:NEE). Critics said the amendment did not actually promote rooftop solar in the state, but rather discourage it.
The utility-backed Consumers for Smart Solar said that says property owners have the right to install rooftop solar, but should not have this practice “subsidized” by other ratepayers. The utility supporters said Amendment 1 would guarantee access to rooftop solar but protect consumers from consumer scams.
“With this vote, the people have now spoken both in August and November that they want the Sunshine State to live up to its name,” said former U.S. Senator and Florida Governor Bob Graham (D).
“Now is the time for us to follow the example of our neighbors in Georgia and adopt policies that will encourage more solar energy in Florida,” Graham said.
“True conservatives believe in the free market and competition, I am pleased to see Amendment 1 defeated as it would have further locked in the big power companies’ monopoly,” said Catherine Baer, The Tea Party Network.