Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (October 22, 2015) – Florida’s Supreme Court ruled today that the language proposed by the Floridians for Solar Choice ballot initiative is unambiguous and single-subject, clearing the legal hurdle for the amendment to be placed on the 2016 election ballot if all 683,149 required signatures are collected and verified before February 1, 2016.
“We are thrilled with the high court’s ruling so that voters may have the opportunity to vote on removing a barrier that currently blocks Florida’s families and businesses from greater energy choices through the power of the free market,” said Tory Perfetti, Chairman, Floridians for Solar Choice. “People power is what will get us on the ballot, and we continue to gather thousands of signatures each week from Floridians eager for Solar Choice.”
The campaign’s total number of verified signatures continues to grow as more than 183,000 have been confirmed by Florida’s Division of Elections and another 100,000 are signed and awaiting verification. The ballot proposal – designed to expand solar choice by removing barriers that limit solar ownership models – continues to gain wide support as more than 65 businesses, associations, conservative groups, faith communities, clean energy and environmental organizations now comprise this diverse coalition.
“In this David and Goliath battle, we fully expected that the petition would upset the status-quo and generate opposition from utilities that hold Florida’s energy consumers captive, so we are pleased the court has cleared the way for this initiative to go before the people” said Pamela Goodman, President, League of Women Voters of Florida. “We are encouraged that an issue like solar choice has strong bipartisan support and is bringing people together for the chance to give Floridians a voice and a choice on solar power.”
Florida is one of only four states where current law expressly denies citizens and businesses the freedom to buy power directly from someone other than a monopoly electric utility or government-owned electric utility.
“Solar energy is a powerhouse economic contributor in many other states, so we are thrilled that Florida may finally have a chance to catch up with the rest of the country,” said Mike Antheil, Executive Director, Florida Solar Energy Industries Association. “The solar industry in Florida is made up of small businesses, just like many other kinds of local contractors. We employ real Floridians and provide for real families. Solar energy is here to stay. Allowing consumers to choose solar power will create local jobs and keep our energy dollars right here in Florida.”
“This is a huge victory for the people and businesses of Florida who want to freely choose the companies that will provide them clean solar power in a cost effective manner,” said Dr. Stephen Smith, Executive Director, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy. “The big monopoly utilities, led by Florida Power & Light (FPL), called in political favors from the Attorney General and other minions in an effort to block the free market and they failed. We fully expect more misleading attacks from the big electric utilities and their proxy front groups in their desperate attempt to limit customer choice. In America, we value competition and the freedom of choice. FPL and other electric utilities need to stop limiting our freedom in the Sunshine State.”