“This ballot initiative is the proverbial
wolf in sheep’s clothing.”

—Dissenting opinion, Justice Barbara J. Pariente,
Supreme Court of Florida
Advisory Opinion to the Attorney General re Rights of Electricity Consumers Regarding Solar Energy Choice. Case No. SC15-2150

What Amendment 1 Says

Ballot Title:  Rights of Electricity Consumers Regarding Solar Energy Choice

Ballot Summary:  This amendment establishes a right under Florida’s constitution for consumers to own or lease solar equipment installed on their property to generate electricity for their own use. State and local governments shall retain their abilities to protect consumer rights and public health, safety and welfare, and to ensure that consumers who do not choose to install solar are not required to subsidize the costs of backup power and electric grid access to those who do.

How Amendment 1 is Designed to Confuse Florida Voters

The first sentence in the Amendment 1 ballot summary is completely unnecessary.  Florida Statute §163.04 already gives Florida consumers an explicit right to install solar equipment on their property. The only purpose of the first sentence in Amendment 1 is to mislead voters into believing that Amendment 1 favors more ownership of rooftop solar power by Florida consumers. But as explained in detail below, the real goal of the amendment is exactly the opposite.

The first part of the second sentence in the Amendment 1 ballot summary is also completely unnecessary.  The Florida Building Code and the National Electrical Code already establish rules and requirements for the safe installation and operation of rooftop solar power systems. And a variety of Florida laws are in place to protect Florida consumers against scams and ripoffs.

Amendment 1 adds nothing new. The only purpose of this language is to mislead voters into believing that Amendment 1 is primarily about consumer protection. But it really isn’t.

The first sentence and the first part of the second sentence in the Amendment 1 ballot summary are nothing more than red herrings. Amendment 1 has only one goal:  Reduce the financial attractiveness of buying a rooftop solar power system.

What the investor-owned electric utility industry really wants is hidden.  The second part of the second sentence in the ballot summary is the language the electric utility industry really wants to turn into law. But if you don’t know what “net metering” is, or understand the strategy that the investor-owned electric utility industry has developed to fight the spread of rooftop solar power, you would have no idea how the seemingly pro-consumer language in Amentment 1 can help the electric utility industry kill rooftop solar power in Florida.

This language, buried at the end of the ballot summary, says, “…to ensure that consumers who do not choose to install solar are not required to subsidize the costs of backup power and electric grid access to those who do.”

We’ll call this the “unfair subsidy” language part of the proposed amendment. While this language certainly sounds consumer friendly, it isn’t. The real goal of the “unfair subsidy” language is to provide legal support for electric utilities to make rooftop solar power systems less financially attractive to consumers. The next section below explains how this would happen.

Why Electric Utilities Want the “Unfair Subsidy” Language in Amendment 1

Electric utilities don’t have a problem with solar power, as long as they own the solar panels. Electric utilities are installing more solar power capacity than consumers, commercial businesses and governments combined by a wide margin. They just don’t want consumers to own rooftop solar power systems on their homes.

Investor-owned electric utilities see rooftop solar power systems as competition.

Electric utility companies want to slow the rapid growth in the number of rooftop solar power systems in Florida by reducing the financial attractiveness of buying a rooftop solar power system. The goal of the “unfair subsidy” language in Amendment 1 is to provide a legal argument for changing the way rooftop solar power system owners are billed by electric utility companies. If Amendment 1 passes, Florida’s electric utilities will propose changes to utility customer billing that reduce the financial attractiveness of buying a rooftop solar power system.

Why electric utilities don’t like consumer-owned rooftop solar power.  Rooftop solar power system owners use less utility-generated electricity. The investor-owned electric utilities that are financing the Amendment 1 ballot initiative, Florida Power & Light, Duke Energy, Gulf Power and Tampa Electric, don’t like rooftop solar power because it reduces their revenues. The amount of profit an investor-owned utility can earn is regulated by the state, so these utility companies can only earn greater profits by selling more electricity.

The number of electric utility customers in Florida with rooftop solar power systems today is a tiny fraction (less than 1%) of the total number of electric utility customers.

Even so, the investor-owned utility industry has looked at other industries decimated by advances in technology—like AT&T’s landline telephone and pay-phone businesses—and they are afraid that widespread adoption of rooftop solar power could have a similar negative impact on their revenues and profits. So they are fighting hard and spending millions of dollars to slow down rooftop solar growth now. Ask yourself:

Why would Florida’s big investor-owned electric utility companies spend over $20 million to ensure the rights of their customers to buy less electricity?

Why You Should
Vote NO on Amendment 1

Amendment 1 is backed by Florida’s investor-owned electric utility companies. Amendment 1, if passed, will give the electric utility industry a legal basis to slow the growth of rooftop solar power in Florida.

More rooftop solar means a better future for all Florida consumers. More rooftop solar power systems will provide benefits to all Florida consumers:

  • Cleaner air because rooftop solar power reduces fossil fuel powerplant air pollution and carbon dioxide emissions.
  • Lower fuel adjustment charges during the summer air conditioning season because rooftop solar power systems reduce peak electricity demand.
  • Delays the need to build additional fossil fuel or nuclear powerplants as Florida’s population increases, the costs of which are passed along to all utility customers.

Amendment 1 Opponents
Return to Supreme Court of Florida

On Wednesday, November 2, 2016, the Florida Solar Energy Industries Association and Floridians for Solar Choice, Inc. filed a Motion for Relief in the Supreme Court of Florida. The Motion seeks relief from the court’s order that allowed the Amendment 1 language on the November election ballot or, alternatively, to reopen the case previously decided by the court.

The Motion argues that Consumers for Smart Solar, Inc., the amendment’s proponents, “affirmatively withheld relevant and material information as to the objective and intended purpose of the amendment, and thereby misled [the] Court (and is now misleading the public) as to the adequacy of the ballot title and summary presented to the voters.” The affirmative deception was uncovered and publicized by the Miami Herald on October 18, 2016, in an article titled “Insider reveals deceptive strategy behind Florida’s solar amendment.”

The Miami Herald story reported that Amendment 1’s sponsors “attempted to deceive voters into supporting restrictions on the expansion of solar by shrouding Amendment 1 as a pro-solar amendment.” The article referenced an October 2, 2016 audio recording of a speech by Sal Nuzzo of the James Madison Institute, at the State Energy/Environment Leadership Summit in Nashville, Tennessee. The James Madison Institute, according to Mr. Nuzzo, partnered with Consumers for Smart Solar and the electric utility industry to research and develop a constitutional ballot initiative that would appear favorable for solar power, but would in reality negate pro solar efforts of solar power proponents.

Frequent Questions About Amendment 1

Have questions about Amendment 1? Here are the questions we are most often asked. Click on a question to read the answer. Click again to hide the answer. If you don’t see your question answered here, please send us an email with your question and we’ll get back to you with an answer. We try to answer all questions within 24 hours.

What is Amendment 1?

Amendment 1 is a ballot initiative funded by the investor-owned electric utility industry. The goal of Amendment 1 is to preserve the monopoly enjoyed by electric utility companies in Florida, through a law that will provide a mechanism to reduce the financial attractiveness of consumer-owned rooftop solar power systems.

If Amendment 1 passes, the electric utility industry will rely upon the “unfair subsidy” language in the Amendment to kill net metering programs, which compensate rooftop solar power system owners for the excess solar electricity generated by their solar panels. They will also seek to impose surcharges on consumers who install rooftop solar power systems.

Why should I care about Amendment 1 if I don’t plan to buy a rooftop solar power system?

Growth in the number of rooftop solar power systems benefits you in several ways, even if you never install your own solar panels. Here are some of the benefits:

  • less air and water pollution, which means cleaner air.
  • reduction in powerplant carbon dioxide emissions, which slows climate change impacts.
  • lower summer electric bills because peak demand and fuel surcharges are reduced.
  • delays in new utility powerplant construction, which all utility customers pay for.

How should I vote on Amendment 1?

You should vote “No” if you think affordable rooftop solar power is a good idea for Florida consumers.

What can I do to help defeat Amendment 1?

Ask your friends and family to vote against Amendment 1. And keep reminding them, especially on the day before amd the day of the election.

Share this website with all your Facebook friends, your family and your coworkers.

Emphasize to everyone you talk to that they need to vote “No” on Amendment 1 because it is a “trick” that will actually have the opposite effect from what it appears to say.

Why are Amendment 1’s proponents pursuing a constitutional amendment?

If Amendment 1 becomes part of Florida’s Constitution, lawyers for Florida’s investor-owned electric utility companies will have a basis to file a lawsuit claiming that net metering programs are unconstitutional. Net metering programs, which make rooftop solar power systems more financially attractive for consumers, are currently mandated by law. (You can learn more about net metering in the Frequent Questions below.)

The electric utility industry is probably also pursuing a constitutional amendment because it’s easier to mislead the general public than to mislead a voting majority in the Florida legislature. Solar energy is one of the few issues that enjoys broad support among both Democrats and Republicans, so the outright fraudulent deception inherent in Amendment 1’s language would never survive bipartisan scrutiny in the Florida legislature.

Independent studies show that solar net metering programs provde a net benefit for all consumers, including those who do not own rooftop solar power systems.

The front organization pushing Amendment 1 says, “[P]utting Amendment 1 in Florida’s constitution keeps it out of reach of politicians and special interests who might try to tamper with it. For example, some new businesses want to sell solar power to consumers—but they don’t want consumers to own and operate their own solar equipment.”

This explanation is complete hogwash. It’s actually the electric utilities that don’t want consumers to own their own solar equipment.

Will Amendment 1 increase access to solar energy in Florida?

No. It will have exactly the opposite effect. The purpose of the “unfair subsidy” language in Amendment 1 is to give electric utility companies a legal argument that supports their efforts to make rooftop solar power systems less financially attractive to consumers.

Will Amendment 1 make solar power in Florida safer for first responders?

No. The installation and safety of rooftop solar power systems in Florida are already governed by the Florida Building Code and the National Electrical Code. Every solar power system installation already must be permitted before work starts, then inspected for compliance with these codes before the system is activated.

Amendment 1 adds nothing new.

Will Amendment 1 protect Florida consumers against solar scams and ripoffs?

No. Florida already has some of the strongest consumer protection laws in the country. These existing laws apply to rooftop solar power systems, just like any other consumer home improvement purchase.

Amendment 1 adds nothing new.

Amendment 1 also says, in part, that state and local governments have the right to protect consumers and enforce the law. Well, of course they do. We don’t need a constitutional amendment to state the obvious.

Amendment 1 adds no new authority for state and local governments.

Will Amendment 1 prevent the sort of long-term lease contracts that have been a bad deal for consumers in other states?

No. Amendment 1 explicitly allows Florida consumers to lease solar equipment.

We agree that 20-year solar power leases with monthly payments that go up every year, and that give the 30% solar tax credit to the leasing company’s investors, instead of to the consumer, are a bad deal for consumers. It is also true that a leased solar system adds nothing to your home’s value and can make your home harder to sell.

Amendment 1 actually allows these leases!

On the other hand, purchasing a rooftop solar power system at a fair market price, with cash or a loan that has fixed monthly payments, and where the consumer gets the 30% solar tax credit, is a great deal. And the largest independent study to date shows that owning a rooftop solar power system almost always results in a big increase in a home’s resale value:

Hoen, Ben and Wiser, Ryan, Principal Authors (2015). “Selling Into The Sun: Price Premium Analysis of a Multi-State Dataset of Solar Homes,” Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, 1 Cyclotron Road, MS 90R4000, Berkeley, CA 94720. January 23, 2015. Prepared for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (Solar Energy Technologies Office), U.S. Department of Energy.

Other studies show that, in addition to increasing a home’s resale value, a purchased rooftop solar power system can help a home sell faster.

Also, Amendment 1 says nothing about long-term solar power purchase contracts, which are different than leases and are already illegal under Florida law… illegal, that is, unless the entity selling the solar power happens to be an electric utility company.

Will Amendment 1 hurt retirees on fixed incomes?

No. But it could hurt retirees who own rooftop solar power systems. And it may keep other Florida retirees—and Florida residents who are close to retirement—from going solar, by reducing the financial value of rooftop solar power.

Electric bills are the single biggest home operating expense in Florida. A purchased rooftop solar power is like an insurance policy against future increases in utility electric rates and fuel surcharges. Many Florida consumers go solar so they can freeze—and eventually get rid of—the biggest chunk of their home operating expense before their incomes become fixed when they retire.

Why do some minority advocacy groups back Amendment 1?

The electric utility industry has actively sought the support of minority advocacy groups.

Why? Monopoly electric utilities and their shareholders do not make very appealing victims. When your real victims are not perceived as innocent and worthy of assistance, a public relations theory called “framing” suggests you should “reframe” the discussion. Consequently, the investor-owned electric utility industry has reframed the discussion about rooftop solar power as a story about harm to low income consumers.

The electric utility industry’s public relations experts invented a cynical and utterly false argument that low income consumers—a group disproportionately comprised of minorities—will be forced to unfairly subsidize more affluent consumers who can afford rooftop solar power systems.

As explained elsewhere in these frequent questions, this “unfair subsidy” argument is just not true.

The “fairness for innocent victims” strategy is both ironic and incredibly cynical because the greatest future harm to Florida’s low income consumers, in terms of energy policy decisions, will likely be the overreliance by Florida’s electric utility companies on natural gas powerplants and their under-investment in clean renewable energy.

Some minority advocates have voiced a valid complaint that the solar revolution is passing them by. The great irony here is that Florida’s investor-owned electric utilities have expended tremendous effort and money to protect their monopolies in ways that harm low income consumers.

Specifically, it is actually illegal in Florida for any commercial business or nonprofit organization to install a solar power system and sell the power to a low income community or a multi-family housing project… unless that entity is a regulated electric utility company. And of course, Florida’s existing electric utilities each enjoy a territorial monopoly. So there is no avenue for a new venture to become a regulated electric utility.

To further their public relations strategy, investor-owned electric utility companies and fossil fuel interests (like the Koch brothers) have provided significant funding for some minority advocacy groups. The Los Angeles Times published an excellent story that explores the alliance between the electric utility industry, fossil fuel interests and minority advocacy groups.

Who is behind Consumers for Smart Solar?

Consumers for Smart Solar, Inc., the legal entity spearheading the push to pass Amendment 1, is not a consumer advocacy group by any stretch of the imagination. The Amendment 1 initiative is being funded by several million dollars from Florida Power & Light, Duke Energy, Gulf Power and Tampa Electric, Florida’s big investor-owned electric utility companies.

The front organization’s three officers, Dick Batchelor, Jim Kallinger and Screven Watson, are longtime Florida policial operatives.

Why did the Florida Supreme Court allow Amendment 1 on the ballot?

The Florida Supreme Court did not decide whether Amendment 1 was a good idea or a bad idea. The only question before the court was whether the wording of Amendment 1 met certain minimum technical requirements.

That said, the opposition brief filed by counsel for the Florida Solar Energy Industries Association clearly explained the misleading character of Amendment 1. The court split 4–3, with Justice Pariente writing a scathing dissent.

The “unfair subsidy” language in Amendment 1 does not actually say anything about reducing the financial attractiveness of rooftop solar power, either by killing net metering programs or by adding surcharges to rooftop solar power system owners’ electric bills. But that is its only purpose.

Ask yourself: Why would Florida’s big investor-owned electric utility companies spend over $20 million to ensure the rights of their customers to buy less electricity?

Amendment 1 is actually a quite ingeniously crafted piece of duplicity. Justice Pariente was correct when she wrote in her dissenting opinion that Amendment 1 is “a wolf in sheep’s clothing.”

How will the investor-owned electric utility industry use Amendment 1 to kill rooftop solar power in Florida?

If Amendment 1 passes, lawyers for Florida’s investor-owned electric utility companies can file a lawsuit claiming that net metering programs are unconstitutional, based upon a false argument that net metering forces consumers who do not own solar power systems to unfairly subsidize those who do. Net metering programs, which make rooftop solar power systems more financially attractive, are currently mandated by law.

The electric utility industry may also try to charge additional fees to rooftop solar power system owners, based upon the same false “unfair subsidy” argument.

Independent studies show that solar net metering programs do not impose a net cost upon consumers who do not own solar power systems. Quite the opposite. More rooftop solar power benefits all consumers.

What is net metering?

Net metering is a utility billing program mandated by law that credits rooftop solar power system owners for excess solar electricity fed back to the utility’s electric power grid. A special bi-directional meter runs backwards when solar electricity is fed back to the grid. Rooftop solar power system owners receive credit on their monthly electric bills for this excess power.

Reverse electricity flow occurs whenever a solar power system produces more solar electricity than a home is using at that instant. For example, many homes use less power during the middle of the day—when solar power output is greatest—because the adult occupants are at work and any children are at school or daycare.

Net metering credit is often not significant for commercial and industrial utility customers because a close correspondence exists, on a time of day basis, between solar power generation and electric power consumption.

Net metering programs promote the expansion of clean and renewable solar power. Also, rooftop solar power systems help reduce utility peak loads on hot summer afternoons and clear sky, very cold winter days—and the inflated prices that utilities must pay to purchase extra power from third party generators during these periods. Florida’s summer heat waves and clear sky, very cold winter days tend to coincide with high solar power system output.

By encouraging distributed generation—electricity generation at the point of consumption—net metering also reduces the strain on distribution systems and reduces losses in long-distance electricity transmission.

Will electric utility companies try to reduce the credited price of net metered electricity?

It doesn’t really matter how much an electric utility company pays for net metered electricity, so long as a rooftop solar power system is properly sized. This is a commonly misunderstood issue, so let us explain.

Florida Administrative Code Rule 25-6.065, “Interconnection and Metering of Customer-Owned Renewable Generation,” requires that calculations of net electricity purchased by a rooftop solar power system owner be based upon electricity consumption and not price per kilowatt-hour. The issuance of any net financial credit only occurs once each year, at the end of the calendar year.

If a rooftop solar power system is right-sized to provide net solar electricity production that does not exceed 100% of a home’s electricity consumption over the course of a year, the excess solar electricity production at each calendar year-end will be near zero. So the amount of the dollar credit per kilowatt-hour paid for excess solar electricity production at year-end doesn’t really matter.

Why is net metering controversial?

Net metering makes rooftop solar power a better deal for consumers.

Electric utilities are alarmed that increasing numbers of rooftop solar power systems may reduce their revenues to a point where investment in powerplant generating capacity, transmission lines and distribution infrastructure is no longer able to earn a sufficient financial return. However, as the Union of Concerned Scientists has pointed out, a problem that is likely to have a far greater impact on Florida consumers is the overreliance by Florida’s electric utility companies on new natural gas powerplants.

Another concern of utilities is that once the number of rooftop solar power systems within a neighborhood, subdivision or community reaches a certain point, the utility will be forced to make additional investments in distribution infrastructure to allow the local power grid to handle peak solar electricity production and an increased flow of electric power in two directions.

This is a valid concern, but a significant amount of electric utility distribution infrastructure is nearing the end of its useful service life and needs to be upgraded anyway. And the very same “smart grid” technology improvements that electric utilities are moving toward will handle these new demands. So blaming the need to upgrade distribution infrastructure on rooftop solar power is disingenuous.

How is the “unfair subsidy” language in Amendment 1 related to net metering?

The electric utility industry believes that if they can reduce the financial attractiveness of rooftop solar power, they can slow the rate of growth in the number of rooftop solar power systems. The easiest way to do this is to eliminate net meting, which will reduce the electric bill savings of consumers who own rooftop solar power systems.

Net metering is mandated by law. So the electric utility industry can’t just get rid of their net metering programs on a whim. They need a reason.

The reason they have come up with is fairness. The argument is false, but we’ll try to explain it.

The utility industry argues that if rooftop solar power customers use less electricity, this will spread the utility’s fixed costs for its powerplants, transmission lines and distribution transformers over less revenue, resulting in higher electric bills for all utility customers. This is the basis for the idea that customers without rooftop solar power are unfairly subsidizing customers who go solar.

But independent studies show that solar net metering programs provide a net benefit to a utility’s non-solar customers. Even so, utilities cherry-pick data that supports their position when they argue this issue, highlighting data that show negative impacts (like reduced revenue due to lost electricity sales and net metering credits) and ignoring data that show positive impacts (like peak demand reduction on hot summer days and reductions in smokestack air pollution and carbon emissions).

Do rooftop solar power systems really reduce electric utility company electricity sales and profits?

Yes, if you are talking about a specific utility customer who, after purchasing a rooftop solar power system, uses less utility-generated electricity.

No, if you are talking about any Florida electric utility company’s overall electricity sales and profits. The 2008–2009 Great Recession aside, electricity sales and profits for Florida electric utility companies have been increasing faster than rooftop solar power adoption, for several reasons:

  • Population growth, which is the major driver of electricity demand growth in Florida
  • Electric car charging, which a recent report suggests could boost utility industry electricity sales by 25%
  • Proliferation of “always on” consumer electronics and smart applicances
  • Bigger houses, which use more power even though energy use per square foot has fallen

Even with continued growth in the number of rooftop solar power systems, growth in the number of electric cars will likely cause a dramatic net increase in electricity sales for the electric utility industry over the next few decades.

Electric utilities also argue that customers with rooftop solar power systems use the utility grid for “backup” power (for example, at night and during rainy weather) but do not pay their fair share for maintenance and availability of the grid. This argument is just plain ridiculous. It’s like arguing that utility customers who turn off all their lights and consumer electronics and set their air conditioning thermostat up, then leave for the entire day, should pay higher electric rates for the “backup” powerlant capacity they need when they return home each evening.

Why not just let electric utilities provide us with solar power?

Investor-owned electric utility companies face strong pressure from the financial markets to focus on their short-term stock prices and dividend payments, often at the expense of their customers’ long-term best interest.

Because of this pressure, electric utility companies can make capital investment decisions that are likely to increase their short-term profits without paying sufficient attention to long-term risks.

For example, most investor-owned electric utility companies are building new natural gas powerplants as fast as they can. While this is not an entirely bad thing (natural gas burns cleaner than coal and is currently very cheap), 90% of their new generation investments are going to natural gas powerplants and only 10% are going to solar. This is a very shortsighted approach that, as the Union of Concerned Scientists has pointed out, Florida consumers will likely pay the price for.

Electric utility companies can install large-scale solar power systems at a cost that is about 45% less than a typical consumer’s fair market price. But even with this lower installed cost advantage, rooftop solar power still enjoys several advantages over a utility solar powerplant:

  • No need to buy land or build power transmission lines from the solar power generation site to the closest power grid access point; added costs that all utility customers ultimately pay for.
  • No power transmission line losses, which are about 6% of gross powerplant generation in advanced countries.
  • Fuel cost—sunlight is free—is the same, but rooftop solar power system owners do not have to pay for the utility’s overhead expenses and profit, on the electricity that their solar panels produce.
  • Rooftop solar power works best when peak demand—and electric bills—are greatest: during hot summer days and very cold, clear-sky winter days.
  • Powerplant air pollution and carbon dioxide emissions are reduced faster because growth in rooftop solar power increases the number of solar panels deployed faster than utility companies could or likely would achieve alone.

What will be the likely outcomes if Amendment 1 passes?

First, the number of consumers purchasing rooftop solar power systems will contract sharply because of uncertainty about the impact of the new law.

Second, Florida’s major electric utility companies will likely move to end net metering, either by filing a lawsuit claiming that net metering is unconstitutional (as an unfair subsidy), or by seeking new legislation. They will also likely move to impose surcharges on rooftop solar power system owners, making the false argument that these consumers do not pay their fair share for maintenance of the power grid.

Nevada allowed electric utility companies to impose surcharges on rooftop solar power system owners in 2015. The state’s three largest solar contractors immediately stopped doing business in Nevada. Permits for new residential solar power system permits in Nevada fell by 92% in the first quarter of 2016. Nevada regulators have been scrambling to change the surcharge system.

And there was an unintended consequence. A November 2016 ballot initiative would end the monopoly of Nevada’s electric utility company, NV Energy, and allow utility customers to choose their own electricity provider. The initiative is backed by Nevada’s casino industry, has broad bipartisan support and is expected to pass.

Sometimes, when you try to be too clever it can come back to bite you. Four possible unintended consequences if Florida’s Amendment 1 passes and the investor-owned electric utility industry succeeds in getting rid of net metering and/or imposing surcharges on rooftop solar power system owners:

  • Smaller rooftop solar power systems.  A rooftop solar power system sized to provide, say, only 50% of a home’s average daily power needs will not produce as much excess solar electricity as a system sized to provide, say, 80% or more of a home’s average daily power needs. Consequently, its economics will be much less impacted by changes to utility net metering programs. For every home, the smaller the rooftop solar power system, the less impact net metering program changes will have. This could, ironically, accelerate the adoption of rooftop solar power by lowering the average system price.
  • Increased focus on commercial solar power systems.  Solar contractors will redirect a greater share of their marketing resources to commercial businesses. Commercial businesses have better solar power economics for two reasons: (1) For many, power consumption is more closely aligned, on a time-of-day basis, with peak solar power production; and (2) in addition to the solar tax credit, commercial businesses can deduct 85% of their basis in a solar power system over five years.
  • Increased sales of “load shifting” battery storage.  If net metering goes away, load-shifting battery storage will take its place. Unlike a rarely used emergency backup battery storage system, a load shifting—or time-of-use—battery storage system stores solar electricity produced during the peak sun hours for use later during the same 24-hour period. Load shifting battery storage systems are currently seeing rapid market growth in Australia, Hawaii and New Zealand—markets with very high electric rates.
  • Deregulation of Florida’s electric utility industry.  Every action triggers a reaction. Blowback from the Amendment 1 ballot initiative, if it passes, will likely include efforts to deregulate Florida’s electric utility industry. Deregulation would include legalizing third party sales of solar power and neighborhood solar power cooperatives with battery storage (for electricity overnight and during extended cloudy weather). This will bring big money donors into the state who can compete with the electric utility industry’s spending power. The electric utility industry should be careful what it wishes for.

The investor-owned electric utility industry can postpone the growth of rooftop solar power. But growth is inevitable. They can’t stop it in the long run.

Who owns this website?

This website is owned by American Solar Energy Systems, Inc., a licensed solar contractor and Florida corporation. We sell, install and service solar energy systems in Florida. We’ve been in the solar business, in Florida, since the 1980s and we have thousands of satisfied customers. We are a member of the Florida Solar Energy Industries Association.

We favor a well-regulated market for solar energy equipment in Florida. And we don’t need to hide behind a front company, or use misleading language and demonstrably false arguments, to support our position.

We only sell solar power systems. We don’t believe 20-year solar leases with monthly payments that go up every year are a good deal for consumers and we don’t want to see out-of-state companies like SolarCity come into Florida with their obnoxious telemarketing, aggressive marketing and bad solar lease deals.

So ask yourself, now that you know a little bit about us, why are we against Amendment 1 if it really would promote smart solar growth in Florida?

Please vote “No” on Amendment 1.

Additional Resources

Miami Herald, November 8, 2016
Florida voters say no to misleading solar amendment

… Entitled — “Rights of Electricity Consumers Regarding Solar Energy Choice,” the carefully crafted proposal appeared poised for easy passage a month ago, as the utility-backed political committee spent the summer promoting the amendment as protecting consumers and encouraging solar. Their promotional materials did not include an explanation that the amendment would open the door to new fees and costs to rooftop solar users.
    Solar industry advocates argued that instead of expanding rooftop solar generation, the amendment had the potential to make it less economically viable and limit its expansion but, after using up their funds on their petition drive, they had no budget for a “vote no” campaign.
    By mid-October, the utility-backed campaign was forced onto the defensive with the surprise arrival of a leaked audio recording. Sal Nuzzo, policy director of the James Madison Institute, which was a supporter of Amendment 1, was recorded conceding that the utilities created the amendment as an act of “political jiu-jitsu” by shrouding it as a pro-solar proposal that would instead “negate” the efforts of solar advocates.
    In the audio obtained by the Herald/Times, Nuzzo told an audience of conservative activists in Nashville on Oct. 2 that the amendment was “an incredibly savvy maneuver” that “would completely negate anything they [pro-solar interests] would try to do either legislatively or constitutionally down the road …“

The New York Times, October 27, 2016
Measure in Florida That Claims to Back Solar Power May Discourage It

Florida’s biggest electric utility companies are backing a proposed constitutional amendment that, the campaign says, “promotes solar in the Sunshine State.” Not so: If Florida voters approve the ballot measure, it could pave the way for utilities to raise fees on solar customers and cast a heavy cloud over the future of rooftop solar energy in Florida.
    Utilities and their allies have spent more than $20 million on the campaign, including inescapable broadcast ads and mass direct mailings. While there is no reliable polling on the measure, unscientific surveys suggest that the amendment can win. Daniel Smith, a professor of political science at the University of Florida, said, “It has a decent shot at passing — because the language is deceptive…“

Miami Herald, October 18, 2016
Insider reveals deceptive strategy behind Florida’s solar amendment

The policy director of a think tank hired by Florida’s largest electric utilities admitted at a conference this month what opponents have claimed for months: The industry attempted to deceive voters into supporting restrictions on the expansion of solar by shrouding Amendment 1 as a pro-solar amendment…

Miami Herald, October 21, 2016
From Novelist Carl Hiassen’s Blog:
Amendment 1 “wolf in sheep’s clothing“

Let the scum shine.
    The solar-power amendment on Florida’s ballot is a slick, oily fraud. Promoted as a way to expand solar energy and protect residents who want it, Amendment 1 would do just the opposite.
    All you need to know is who’s bankrolling the massive advertising campaign: Florida Power & Light, Duke Energy, Tampa Electric Co., Gulf Power, and a few nonprofits funded heavily by Exxon Mobil and a pair of right-wing billionaire brothers named Koch…

Rolling Stone, February 11, 2016
The Koch Brothers’ Dirty War on Solar Power

… The solar industry in Florida has been boxed out by investor-owned utilities (IOUs) that reap massive profits from natural gas and coal. These IOUs wield outsize political power in the state capital of Tallahassee, and flex it to protect their absolute monopoly on electricity sales. “We live in the Stone Age in regard to renewable power,” says state Rep. Dwight Dudley, the ranking Democrat on the energy subcommittee in the Florida House. “The power companies hold sway here, and the consumers are at their mercy…”

Florida Today, October 21, 2016
Solar boat showcased during anti-Amendment 1 event

Forbes, October 16, 2016
How Florida Residents May Lose The Battle For Attainable Solar Energy

Miami Herald, November 2, 2016
Solar advocates file suit to block “misleading” Amendment 1

Miami Herald, October 21, 2016
The tale of one confused Amendment 1 voter: Can I change it?

Miami Herald, October 20, 2016
Leaked audio tape exposes duplicity behind solar amendment

Miami Herald, June 2, 2016
Vote No on misleading Amendment 1 on ballot

Orlando Sentinel, October 27, 2016
Supporters’ ruse unravels. Vote no on Amendment 1: Endorsements 2016

Orlando Sentinel, October 20, 2016
Vote no on Amendment 1: Reject Florida utilities’ shameful solar campaign

Orlando Sentinel, October 19, 2016
Amendment 1: Don’t let utilities stunt sun power’s growth in Florida

Orlando Sentinel, October 10, 2016
Solar amendment more about money than energy

Pensacola News-Journal, October 15, 2016
Editorial: Amendment 1 is a sham

PR Watch, September 29, 2015
Koch Brothers Backing Misleading Anti-Solar Campaign in Florida

Sun Sentinel, October 16, 2016
Vote “NO” on shady, not smart, solar amendment

Tallahassee Democrat, June 9, 2016
Support solar? Vote “no” on Amendment 1

Tallahassee Democrat, October 15, 2016
Amendment 1 could burn solar firms, customers

Tampa Bay Times, October 14, 2016
Times recommends: Vote no on anti-solar Amendment 1

Amendment 1

Cynical. Misleading. A wolf in sheep’s clothing.
A “No” vote on Amendment 1 is a vote for Florida consumers
and a clean renewable energy future.