Florida’s Chamber of Commerce strongly criticized the Solar Choice Amendment on the day the proposal passed a major legal hurdle.
Mark Wilson, Florida Chamber president and CEO, denounced the amendment after its language was approved by the Florida Supreme Court Thursday afternoon. He said, as it stands, the proposal is “driven by special interests that seek to raise electricity prices” on consumers.
The amendment, sponsored by Floridians for Solar Choice and backed by the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, seeks to allow companies to install solar panels on homes and businesses, selling the energy without being treated as a utility under state and local laws.
Wilson believes expanding solar power in the state would be better served through the Florida Legislature and the budget process, not by constitutional amendment. Having a sustainable energy infrastructure is essential for the state’s prosperity and competitiveness, he said.
“To provide Florida families with reliable and cost-effective energy options, including solar, the Florida Chamber supports energy policies that focus on the long-term demands of our state that will help meet the needs of Florida’s growing population,” Wilson added.
The Chamber has a long-standing record on opposing constitutional amendments that could be achieved through the legislative process. For that reason, Wilson opposes the solar choice amendment. He also noted the Chamber’s “strong history of advocating for a comprehensive state energy portfolio,” one that would include solar energy.
“The solar choice amendment is driven by special interests who seek to raise electricity prices on Florida families and make Florida less competitive,” he said. “There’s a right way to do solar, but Florida’s Constitution isn’t it.”
Wilson vowed that the Chamber will continue to encourage voters to oppose the amendment, which he believes “provides protections and unrestricted and unregulated growth for a specific industry.”
A Chamber-sponsored poll in August found that a majority of Floridians support the expansion of solar energy, but will not back any amendment to the state constitution that could increase energy costs.
Opponents to the Solar Choice Amendment, including Wilson and the Chamber, condemn the proposal as a violation of the single-subject requirement, and, if passed, changes the powers of government.