http://www.cleanenergy.org/2015/01/14/broad-coalition-launches-floridians-for-solar-choice-ballot-effort/

SACE | Southern Alliance for Clean Energy

Broad Coalition Launches Floridians for Solar Choice Ballot Effort

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Conservative, Business and Energy-policy Groups Join Together to Give Floridians a Voice and a Choice on Solar Power

Contact: Floridians for Solar Choice, 954-580-6370, info@flsolarchoice.org

 

Tallahassee, Fla. (January 14, 2015) – Seeing the need to support free market principles and advance energy innovation in Florida, Conservatives for Energy Freedom, Florida Retail Federation, Florida Solar Energy Industries Association, Florida Alliance for Renewable Energy, Christian Coalition, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, Republican Liberty Caucus of Tampa Bay, Republican Liberty Caucus of Florida, and Libertarian Party of Florida have come together to support efforts to grow the solar market across the state.

 

These diverse groups all agree that free market principles are necessary to foster solar energy’s use and growth in Florida. Floridians for Solar Choice was formed to gather the hundreds of thousands of signatures needed to place this initiative on the 2016 ballot and give voters the opportunity to decide whether businesses and property owners can have the freedom to generate solar energy and sell it directly to others.

 

Florida is one of only five states where current laws expressly deny citizens and businesses the freedom to buy solar power electricity directly from someone other than a monopoly electric utility, or government-owned electric utility.

 

The campaign — part of a fast-growing movement supported by conservative leaders and organizations, business groups, industry associations, energy-policy advocates, and conservation organizations — promises to be an unprecedented effort to bring awareness to the benefits of solar power and the importance of free market energy policies to Floridians across the state.

 

“This ballot initiative is about freedom of choice and the independence to decide from more than one option how you will power your future,” said Tory Perfetti, Chairman of the newly formed political action committee Floridians for Solar Choice, and Florida Director of Conservatives for Energy Freedom. “The consumer and business community will benefit in ways that are not possible at present. We will be taking care of the environment while practicing smart and sensible free market principles, thus providing a net win for this State and those who live here.”

 

“A free market that includes all energy sources is the best way to power Florida,” said Debbie Dooley, Tea Party Leader and Founder of Conservatives for Energy Freedom. “This ballot measure is an opportunity for Floridians to make their voices heard. We need to stop the unelected bureaucrats and government-created monopolies that threaten our ability to choose how we power our homes and businesses.”

 

“Stores like Wal-Mart and Publix ought to be able to take advantage of their rooftop space and work with third party operators to construct solar power arrays,” said Randy Miller, Executive Vice President of Governmental Affairs with the Florida Retail Federation. “Locking in competitive energy prices will help keep costs for groceries and other goods from escalating while creating local jobs. The Florida Retail Federation stands in support of solar choice and competition.”

 

“The solar industry is ready and able to answer the call. The utilities have blocked solar progress long enough,” said Mike Antheil, Executive Director of the Florida Solar Energy Industries Association (FlaSEIA). “The private market is ready to invest in solar and shift investment risk away from taxpayers and ratepayers. We don’t need handouts, we just need a chance to compete.”

 

“Florida gets the most solar radiant energy east of the Mississippi. Allowing third party sales of electricity will allow for the widespread use of solar power in the state — employing tens of thousands of people and ensuring that utilities don’t have to build costly, new power plants,” said Scott McIntyre, President of the Florida Alliance for Renewable Energy and CEO of Solar Energy Management. “It is time to bring Florida out of the solar dark ages.”

 

“WTEC, with regional headquarters in Tampa and a factory in Pensacola, builds solar farms all over the country—but not in Florida—due to the state’s anti-free-market policies. Floridians are denied the lower cost energy they deserve and the jobs that go along with it,” said Chris Delp, Corporate Counsel for WTEC. “The Sunshine State should be leading the country in renewable energy jobs, but while Florida’s big utilities advance renewable energy in other states, they tell Floridians that it’s a bad idea here. This ballot initiative will go a long way to open up solar energy here in Florida.”

 

“We believe the regulatory and political system in Florida is broken because of the undue financial influence of the monopoly utilities,” said Dr. Stephen A. Smith, Executive Director of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy. “It is crystal clear that people in Florida want solar power choice. A ballot initiative is not necessarily the ideal way to establish energy policy, but due to the corrupting influence of monopoly utilities, we must exercise this option in order to give Florida citizens a voice and a choice in energy policy.”

 

Floridians for Solar Choice is a 501(c)(4) organization working across the state of Florida to elevate awareness of the 2016 ballot initiative. The public is encouraged to visit the campaign’s website www.flsolarchoice.org and social media outlets, including Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram for more information. Registered voters in Florida are urged to sign the petition here. People interested in volunteering for the campaign can contact the coalition here or email coordinators via volunteers@flsolarchoice.org.

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Floridians for Solar Choice supports the freedom to develop solar power in the Sunshine State and is bringing people together to take solar power choice to the ballot. Learn more at www.flsolarchoice.org