Suppliers and consumers are concerned about the impact Amendment 1 might have toward solar power. Some say it is necessary to prevent subsidies that will affect everyone else who is not interested, while others say it is only hurting the solar community by encouraging fees and restrictions.
Florida’s Amendment 1 will establish solar energy as a right in the state constitution. It will also allow the government to regulate the practice.
“The reason my wife and I started the business was for environmental reasons,” said Solar Impact President Barry Jacobson. “That we see what we’re doing to the environment, and solar’s a part of that at least.”
He has seen solar finally become more affordable, from as much as $50,000 to an average of around $12,000, and worries Amendment 1 may change that.
Jacobson has had customers who have been ready to sign a contract with him but have instead decided to wait to see if Amendment 1 will pass.
Screven Watson, an advocate for Consumers for Smart Solar, believes Amendment 1 will actually help the solar community.
“It just says government can continue to monitor the situation for fairness to make sure your rates don’t go up unfairly,” he said. “Some people say ‘that’s anti-solar,’ [but] no it’s not– it doesn’t say anything that’s anti-solar.”
In August, 72 percent of Florida voters approved an amendment for property tax breaks toward solar. However, with the confusion over the overall impact of Amendment 1, it may not reach the 60 percent needed for approval.
Whatever happens after election day, Jacobson believes voting yes on Amendment 1 will do more harm than good.
“The great thing about solar is you know what it’s going to produce [and] you know what the cost of electricity is,” he said. “We can measure it–we can tell you what it’s gonna do. Throwing some uncertainty in the middle just makes it harder to sell.”