A long time ago… 1978 to be exact, the United States was in energy peril. Under the OPEC embargo, oil prices were at an all-time high and continued to increase with no end in sight. In order to spur an increase in domestic energy supply, President Jimmy Carter signed the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA), which required electric utilities to purchase additional energy from independent power producers. Various methods of purchasing this energy emerged, but one method was particularly innovative. The State of California offered independent energy producers, largely wind farms, contracts to sell the utilities energy at a fixed per-kWh price over a long-term contract period.
On November 8, Florida voters will determine the future of solar energy in the Sunshine State by voting on Amendment 1, which seeks to establish a utility-owned monopoly on solar energy in the state. This is an anti-solar initiative.
Amendment 1, titled “Rights of Electricity Consumers Regarding Solar Energy Choice,” uses deceptive language to disguise itself as a pro-solar amendment. Although the bill promises to “give residents of Florida the right to own or lease solar energy equipment for personal use,” it may actually take all of the private-sector financial benefits of solar energy away from consumers and give them to the utilities.