Explaining Amendment 1: What Supporters and Opposition Believe


Solar energy is a hot topic of the upcoming election in Florida, all in the form of Amendment 1.

Several groups in the Sunshine State have taken a strong stance on the “Solar Choice” Amendment.

While the “Yes to One” group argues it protects Floridians from solar scams, “No to One” says it could stifle clean energy growth.  Leaders from both sides answered questions about the amendment and made their cases for voters.

It feeds the trees and plants, keeps Florida weather warm into November and even creates energy for some home and business owners, but the debate over solar power has some people in Florida really heated up.

“We already have in our constitution the ability to have solar,” said Charlyle Parrish, with the League of Women Voters in Pensacola.

“It just simply leaves the government in the process, that’s really what amendment 1 does,” said Screven Watson, who is a board member for Consumers for Smart Solar.

Amendment 1, in short, makes solar energy a constitutional right.  It also let’s state and local government prevent people who don’t use solar from being required to pay subsidies on the production of solar energy.  While the League of Women Voters opposes the amendment, Consumers for Smart Solar is in favor.

“If you think that it’s basic issue that government should protect consumers and protect rate payers to make sure the system is fair, then I think you should be for amendment 1,” Watson said.  “I think if you read the language you’ll see that.”

Parrish said of the amendment, “We want to expand alternate energy, and this doesn’t look like it would do that.”

Generally, people in favor of amendment 1 believe it protects the rights of solar producers, and protects electricity consumers from unfair charges.  Those against say big utility companies are using 1 to protect their own control in the market.  There’s been plenty of controversy over the amendment, from the amount of money energy companies have poured into promoting it to the way the amendment is worded on the ballot.

“The language is such that would give people the feeling that they’re supporting solar when in fact it is our interpretation of the language that it is not supporting the widespread use of solar,” Parrish said.

“I mean, you and I could speak for decades about all the things the government could do, down the road, but amendment one doesn’t specify that,” Watson said.  “It just says government retains its ability to be involved in solar energy.”

However it is you vote, just remember… an informed vote is a smart vote.

For more information on the League of Women Voters, click here.

For information from Consumers for Smart Solar, click here.

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