- Advocates in Florida have collected more than 72,000 signatures on a petition designed to expand solar choice by removing barriers that limit generation ownership models, the state Board of Elections reported this week.
- The figure is a significant milestone for Floridians for Solar Choice, a GOP-led coalition that wants the measure placed on the 2016 ballot, the Tampa Bay Times reports. The group began collecting signatures in January for the petition, which would allow solar owners to sell power directly to consumers, bypassing utilities.
- Floridians for Solar Choice needed about 68,000 signatures before it could send proposed language for the measure to the Florida Supreme Court for review. If the court approves the language, the group will still need more than half a million signatures to put the petition before voters.
About two months after launching a constitutional amendment ballot initiative to place solar choice on the 2016 ballot, Floridians for Solar Choice said more than 72,000 petition signatures have been verified by the state's Division of Elections, clearing the way for a legal review by the Florida Supreme Court.
The Division of Elections will now send the ballot petition to the Attorney General who will request an advisory opinion from the Court. Advocates said the court's review is a "critical step in all state-wide ballot campaigns" as justices must review the wording of ballot proposals to ensure the language is unambiguous and conforms to the single-subject requirement.
“We are thrilled to reach this important milestone. It shows broad support among Florida’ families and businesses for removing barriers to commerce in solar power," said Tory Perfetti, chairman of Floridians for Solar Choice.
According to the measure's summary it "limits or prevents government and electric utility imposed barriers to supplying local solar electricity. ... Barriers include government regulation of local solar electricity suppliers’ rates, service and territory, and unfavorable electric utility rates, charges, or terms of service imposed on local solar electricity customers."
If the ballot’s wording gains Supreme Court approval, the campaign will need to collect and have the Division of Elections verify an additional 600,000 signatures by February 1, 2016 in order to place the proposed constitutional amendment on the November 2016 ballot.