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Dwight Dudley to appear at solar fair at USF on Saturday

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Although advocates of solar power in Florida took a blow when a proposed constitutional amendment to expand solar power rights for consumers and businesses failed to qualify for the ballot this year, there’s still much to be hopeful for.

That’s what Michael Brune, the executive director of the Sierra Club, told a crowd in St. Petersburg this week.

“There are more than 70 percent of Americans who want to see stronger investments in energy efficiency, which has bipartisan support, for the increase in penetration of wind and solar, which has bipartisan support (and) for investments in electric vehicles,” he said.

However, he also acknowledged that there needs to be stronger leadership on the issue from Tallahassee.

“Florida has about 6,500 jobs in the solar industry, which is ranked No. 8 in terms of solar industry jobs around the country,” he said. “We’re in the Sunshine City in the Sunshine State: Florida should be leading the way in clean energy investments, but you’re going to need more leadership from your governor to do that.”

Supporters of more solar power in Florida will gather Saturday on the University of South Florida campus for “Solar Energy Fair 2016.” The featured speaker will be Yogi Goswami, an internationally renowned mechanical engineer at USF.

Pinellas County based state House Democrat Dwight Dudley, a fierce critic of public utilities, will participate in a panel discussion with TECO Renewable Energy Manager Shelly Whitworth, Floridians for Solar Choice’s Lance Orchid and May Electric’s Tab Brown.

Bakkari Chris Kennedy, Energy Efficiency Engineer with Suncoast Credit Union, and Tampa Bay Sierra Club chapter chairman Kent Bailey will also participate.

The event takes place at the USF Tampa campus Engineering Building II ENB from 10 a.m. to  3 p.m., Saturday



Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at

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