In 2016, Florida’s community of solar supporters scored a major victory. Florida voters rejected Amendment 1, a deceptive utility-backed ballot measure that would have made it more difficult for homeowners to go solar. The ballot initiative would have paved the way for Florida utilities to dismantle net metering for solar customers. This would have severely stunted the state’s distributed rooftop solar market.
The ballot initiative garnered 52% of the vote, leaving it short of the 60% needed for passage. At the outset, this solar victory looked like a long shot. An August poll had support for the Amendment above 80%. In the end, solar won the day by engaging an ideologically diverse group that put the Amendment’s utility backers on the defensive.
Florida’s investor-owned utilities conceived of Amendment 1 as a way to block a citizen-led ballot initiative effort aimed at allowing third party sales of electricity. The grassroots effort failed to get enough signatures to make the 2016 ballot, while the utility-backed initiative succeeded. Amendment 1 used deceptive language to trick voters into thinking that a vote in favor was a vote for solar. Florida utilities spent an estimated $27 million on the campaign and funneled money through allied organizations to back Amendment 1. Solar supporters had no similar war chest.
In the wake of this great victory, solar supporters are going on the offensive. We’ve developed a petition to set the terms for a fair market for solar. We can ensure our solar rights are protected by sharing it far and wide.