On election day, voters in Florida will decide on Amendment 1, a controversial ballot measure that would amend the state constitution to pave the way for more restrictions and fees for solar customers.

The campaign promoting Amendment 1 is Consumers for Smart Solar. In March, the Florida Supreme Court narrowly ruled 4-3 to allow the utility-backed petition on to the November ballot. Justice Pariente understood Consumers for Smart Solar and the power companies were misleading voters. In the dissent, she writes:

Let the pro-solar energy consumers beware… The ballot language is further defective for purporting to grant rights to solar energy consumers that are illusory… This ballot initiative is the proverbial “wolf in sheep’s clothing.”

Over the past 14 months, the four large power companies in Florida (Duke Energy, NextEra Energy’s Florida Power & Light, Southern Company’s Gulf Power, and Tampa Electric Company) along with organizations that have either been funded by these companies or funded by other fossil fuel companies have contributed over $24 million dollars to the Consumers for Smart Solar campaign.

Interestingly, only $305 of the $26.1 million total contributions have come from individual donors. As of October 31, the power companies continue to pour more and more dollars into the campaign. Duke Energy and NextEra Energy’s Florida Power & Light are the largest spenders – contributing more than half of all the money raised by Consumers for Smart Solar.

The infographic below shows where the rest of the money has originated.

Funding to Consumers for Smart Solar for Amendment 1 as of Oct. 28, 2016

Funding to Consumers for Smart Solar for Amendment 1 as of Nov. 10, 2016

Florida Power and Light: $8,055,000
Duke Energy: $6,736,998
Tampa Electric: $3,197,347
Gulf Power: $2,199,450


And here is a video published by the Florida Solar Energy Industries Association explaning the amendment and also the financial backers of Amendment 1.

 

Updated on October 31, 2016

Posted by Matt Kasper

Matt Kasper is the Research Director at the Energy & Policy Institute. He focuses on defending policies that further the development of clean energy sources. He also frequently focuses on the companies and their front groups that obstruct policy solutions to global warming. His work has appeared in The Guardian, the Huffington Post, the Washington Post, and other outlets.

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