What to know about Florida solar Amendment 1 before voting


ORLANDO, Fla. – Voters who were in favor of Amendment 4, for solar power tax breaks, were told to vote yes in the Florida primary.

Residents will see another solar power Amendment on their ballots in Nov. 8, but pro-solar power experts are advising them to vote no.

The flip-flop between the primary and the general election could be confusing to voters who think the two are related.

Amendment 1, known as "Rights of Electricity Consumers Regarding Solar Energy Choice” or the solar amendment, is a constitutional amendment and needs 60 percent of the vote to pass.

But what would this do for property owners interested in using the power of the sun?

The solar amendment would give Florida residents the constitutional right "to own or lease solar equipment installed on their property to generate electricity for their own use," according to Consumers for Smart Solar, a political group backing the amendment.

[MORE: News 6 2016 election guide]

But under Florida’s current law, residents already have that right.

Amendment 1 would open the door for further regulation of solar power installations and make it easier to add fees for solar panels, the Orlando Sentinel editorial board wrote.

Florida’s major power companies back Amendment 1, including Florida Power & Light and Duke Energy.

“While claiming to expand the use of solar in Florida, this amendment would have the opposite effect and provide state constitutional protection to a rigged system that favors the electric monopolies,” according to the Tampa Bay Times editorial board.

Many alternative energy groups have come out against Amendment 1, urging Floridians to vote no on the amendment.

Polls last month showed that 66 percent of residents would vote yes to pass the amendment. Some voters might think they are promoting solar energy by voting yes for Amendment 1, but “nothing could be further from the truth,” the Tampa Bay Times editorial board wrote.

“Amendment 1 paves the way for barriers that would penalize solar customers,” according to Floridians for Solar Choice, the anti Amendment 1 group.

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