- Consumers for Smart Solar, a utility-backed group supporting a constitutional amendment on Florida ballots in November, spent more than $760,000 on advertising in a single week this month, Saint Peter's Blog reports.
- Amendment 1 would amend the state's constitution to establish that consumers "have the right to own or lease solar equipment," but clean energy advocates say the measure would actually enshrine the utility's monopoly.
- However, a Florida Chamber of Commerce poll last week found almost two-thirds of voters support the measure.
Support appears strong for Amendment 1, and that may be a result of advertising. The SaintPetersBlog.com reported that state records show Consumers for Smart Solar spent more than three-quarters of a million dollars between Sept. 7 and Sept. 23, with more than $500,000 on advertising and the remainder on a direct mail campaign launched last month.
The utility-supported group has raised more than $21 million total and has more than $2 million on hand. The largest donors are Duke Energy and Florida Power & Light, shelling out a combined $11 million to the group, according to Ballotpedia.
Opposed to the measure are a wide range of environmental groups, including the Sierra Club, and several newspaper editorial boards have advised voters to approach the issue skeptically or reject the amendment.
Solar supporters say the measure is not good for consumers, and bears a deceptive name. Critics say the "Rights of Electricity Consumers Regarding Solar Energy Choice" would allow utilities to monopolize the solar industry. The constitutional amendment would allow state and local governments to impose fees "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."
A competing ballot initiative, backed by Floridians for Solar Choice, would have legalized third party ownership of distributed solar in Florida, but the measure did not make it onto the November ballot.