Commentary: Floridians should say ‘Yes on 1 for Sun’
Consumers for Smart Solar wants to encourage the use of more solar energy in Florida, but we believe it should be done the right way -- a way that protects consumers.
Amendment 1, which will be on the November ballot, is a straightforward plan to promote solar while allowing for consumer protection laws to keep solar scam artists out of Florida.
This may be hard to believe, but there are out-of-state solar companies that do not want consumers to own their own solar equipment and generate their own electricity.
They would rather lock Floridians into 20-year lease contracts with annual cost increases and no consumer protection laws to prevent scams and rip-offs.
To further complicate the advancement of solar in Florida, these out-of-state solar companies not only want to make money off of their Florida customers, they want to be subsidized by non-solar customers as well. That doesn’t really sound like a good deal.
To be clear, Amendment 1 does not prohibit any approach (or “practice”) to expand the use of solar in Florida, including this “third-party leasing” business model.
But, Amendment 1 will ensure that Floridians will always have the right to own their own solar equipment and generate their own electricity. It also makes sure that solar has to play by the same consumer protection rules as any other energy source. And because it puts these rights and protections into Florida’s constitution, neither policymakers nor special interest groups will be able to weaken them in the future.
Further, we believe that Amendment 1 will create the economic certainty necessary to encourage Floridians considering solar to proceed with their investment, knowing their rights are secured in our constitution, and the health, safety and welfare of the public will be protected -- for both solar and non-solar customers.
As solar becomes an essential part of Florida’s energy mix, we must protect consumers, particularly our seniors, from scams, rip-offs and unfair subsidies. Just do a simple Google search of “Arizona Solar Bankruptcy” and you will see why Florida consumers must be protected from these solar scams.
Fortunately, Amendment 1 will promote solar in a way that treats all consumers fairly by allowing those who don’t choose solar from having to unfairly subsidize the energy choices of those who do choose solar.
Join the 73 percent of Florida voters that a poll shows support Amendment 1 and vote “Yes on 1 for the Sun” in November.
Kallinger is co-chair of Consumers for Smart Solar in Tallahassee