Florida restaurateurs are speaking out in favor of expanded access to solar energy, as the way for small business owners to manage spiraling energy costs.
On Wednesday, the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association (FRLA) endorsed the Floridians for Solar Choice ballot initiative, which seeks inclusion on the 2016 ballot.
In giving its support, the state’s nonprofit hospitality industry trade association believes solar energy provides opportunities for business owners to control costs by hedging against rising electricity prices.
FRLA is the leading advocate for Florida’s $82 billion hospitality industry, a sector that represents nearly 20 percent of the state’s economy and $3.4 billion in tax revenue. FRLA has joined a growing coalition of 50 industry associations, conservative groups, faith communities, clean energy advocates, and environmental organizations to officially endorse the campaign.
“We strongly support the Floridians for Solar Choice ballot initiative because it will allow our members – whose 1.1 million employees are the backbone of Florida’s tourism industry — to lock in long-term savings on electricity bills without having to assume the risks of owning and maintaining a solar power system,” said Richard Turner, who serves as FRLA General Counsel and Vice-President of Governmental Relations.
“It would also allow restaurant and lodging owners to enjoy solar power without the upfront capital costs needed to purchase a system outright.”
Solar Choice is working to expand solar energy options for consumers by removing barriers limiting solar ownership, and allow solar energy users to sell power directly to other consumers.
Florida is one of only four states to restrict citizens and businesses from buying solar power electricity from anyone other than electric utilities or a government-owned electric utility.
According to the group’s website, the Solar Choice initiative would be a “first step toward opening up free markets for all energy in Florida.”