It appears the fate of Florida’s solar industry will be up to state voters, after all. On Friday, the Florida Supreme Court denied the motions for legal filings against Amendment 1, a utility-backed ballot measure that many local and national solar advocates strongly oppose.
Earlier this week, Floridians for Solar Choice (FSC) and the Florida Solar Energy Industries Association (FlaSEIA) filed legal actions requesting that the court revisit the case involving Amendment 1 and ultimately remove the measure from the upcoming general election ballot.
In their requests, FSC and FlaSEIA claimed that new evidence, including leaked audio, proved that Amendment 1 is designed to intentionally mislead voters. Although Consumers for Smart Solar, the group that proposed the measure, claims Amendment 1 is pro-solar and “protects Florida consumers from scams, rip-offs and unfair subsidies,” solar advocates charge that the amendment could open the door for state utilities to implement fees on solar customers and change solar-friendly policies, such as net metering.
Dr. Stephen A. Smith, board member of FSC, had called the legal actions “insurance,” and in a statement following the court’s denial, he said, “We wanted to give the court an opportunity to clean up the mess they have made by approving this amendment for the ballot.” (The Florida Supreme Court narrowly approved the amendment’s language in a 3-4 vote earlier this year.)
“Now its game on,” continued Smith. “We have a Solar Uprising happening in the Sunshine State. We ask everyone to Vote No On 1, and we look forward to Tuesday when we will kill this once and for all.”
Patrick Altier, president of FlaSEIA, added, “We are disappointed by today’s decision from the Florida Supreme Court as we know Amendment 1 to be a wolf in sheep’s clothing. We strongly believe the proposed ballot measure is deceptive and call upon the citizens of Florida to vote no [on] Amendment 1.”
On Thursday, national groups the Sierra Club and the Solar Energy Industries Association rallied in Florida in opposition of Amendment 1, and the campaign against the measure has garnered media coverage from across the country. Florida residents will cast their votes this Tuesday, Nov. 8.