Though Florida has long been dragging its heels in the solar race, a group of solar advocates, environmentalists, and political conservatives unveiled an initiative in Tallahassee last week that would work to bring solar to the ballot. The Solar Choice Ballot Initiative would challenge the major utility companies current reign over solar endeavors by not only establishing an even more cost-effective game plan for the general public, but ultimately saving taxpayers money by shifting costs from the state to private companies.
So, how would it work? Well, it’s simple. Some homeowners are interested in taking steps toward a solar lifestyle, but they can’t afford the startup costs. Though many Florida residents have taken advantage of the drastically reduced solar equipment prices, there is still lots of potential for households with a lower spending limit to jump into the industry. The Solar Choice Ballot Initiative would allow these homeowners to buy electricity from a range of companies who would install and retain ownership of the power until the homeowner paid off the entirety of the equipment through monthly payments, at which point ownership of both the panels and energy would belong to the homeowner. From that point, the equipment and the energy are due to last for at least a decade, with the potential to sell back any surplus of power produced.
The initiative has brought together a wide variety of supporters from both conservatives and liberals, as well as an unlikely union between environmentalists and the GOP. But while support has already begun to mount, the measure still needs 680,000 signatures before it makes it onto the 2016 ballot. Only time will tell if the public will support such an initiative, but coalition leaders say they are expecting a number of scare tactics and even a bit of misinformation from utility companies as the final deadline approaches.