Guest: Amendment 1 would boost solar energy and benefit all
By Kevin Doyle
Special to Historic City News
Renewable, clean, reliable and getting increasingly more affordable, solar energy is dramatic and can change the globe, starting with the way Florida harvests and consumes electricity.
So it’s imperative that we have the right set of balanced policies to ensure that its deployment is done thoughtfully and in a way that uniformly benefits all energy consumers, solar and non-solar — and foremost is policies like Amendment 1.
The initiative is designed to promote the expansion of solar technology while bolstering the electric grid and ensuring that residents — including those who cannot purchase solar panels — have affordable, reliable energy prices at all times.
That’s exceedingly pro-consumer — and fair.
There’s more: Amendment 1 would, if passed, help residents decide whether installing a solar system on their homes or businesses is right for them, and if so, which provider to go with. It would also help promote safer market conditions by giving state and local governments the ability to pass or expand consumer-protection measures to prevent fraud and weed out abusive and predatory pricing and price gouging.
It could also grant residents the ability to own or lease solar systems while generating electricity, which is key because leasing solar equipment in Florida is not yet specifically or legally authorized. In other words, the ballot measure would make the installation of solar technology a right under law.
Amendment 1 also would make sure consumers and businesses who don’t have solar panels installed are treated fairly.
Rooftop solar consumers are always connected to the grid. They rely on this connection to supplement their power supplies when the sun is not shining and to sell the excess power they generate back to the grid. This requires maintenance and creates costs. Amendment 1 ensures that all buying and selling is done at a fair rate and that all consumers — even those with solar technology — share grid maintenance costs equally and benefit from this initiative.
In the end, it’s about providing thousands of new electricity-generating resources on rooftops and in communities in the form of consumer-based generation. It’s about encouraging new solar installation projects that will diversify the grid’s power sources and make it less susceptible to brown- and blackouts during hot summer months.
Most important, it’s about making sure all Floridians benefit from the unprecedented shift in America’s electric grids, and ensuring that energy policies are always pro-solar, pro-grid, and pro-consumer — for everyone.
Kevin Doyle is executive director for Consumer Energy Alliance – Florida. CEA provides consumers with sound, unbiased information on U.S. and global energy issues. Our affiliates comprise a range of sectors from the energy industry, academia, small businesses, conservation groups to travel-related industries.