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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Solar advocates launch digital campaign to promote August ballot measure

Two solar energy groups are joining forces with the the hopes of providing some social media clarity to the now-cloudy state of the future of solar energy in Florida to advance Amendment 4. 

The measure, which proposes to give commercial property owners a tax break when they install renewable energy devices, comes before voters on the Aug. 30 primary ballot. There is no announced opposition to the effort but the groups want Floridians to know this is not the same proposal as the utility-industry proposal on the November ballot that is designed to protect their energy investments, not broaden the solar market to competition. The utility-funded group calls itself Consumers for Smart Solar.

The groups -- Florida for Solar and Floridians 4 Lower Energy Costs -- launch the digital aspect of their education campaign today on Twitter, Facebook and other Internet sites to spread word about the proposal.

Florida for Solar, is a non-profit advocacy organization formed by Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, and headed up by his former aide, Chris Spencer. Brandes is one of the authors of the proposal.

The other group, Floridians 4 Lower Energy Costs, is headed up by Tory Perfetti, and it will work with grassroots organizations, renewable industry supporters and advocates, and non-partisan players. It is an affiliate of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, the organization that backed a rival amendment that failed to get on the November ballot.

SACE organized Floridians for Solar Choice and pushed its own amendment, only to be stymied when the utilities conducted a price war over petition gathering and they ended up in federal court suing their petition gathering vendor over billing practices.

That proposal, now intended for the 2018 ballot, would allow property owners to sign lease agreements with solar companies to finance and install equipment. Solar owners would then be allowed to generate and sell solar electricity to contiguous property owners, as well as to area utilities.

Meanwhile, the first question for voters is whether or not they want to support the August ballot measure. It already has the support of the Florida Retail Federation, the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association, The Nature Conservancy and the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy. 



[Last modified: Wednesday, June 1, 2016 1:16pm]


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