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Solar amendment supporters shine, raise $2.8M in 2 days

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

The committee backing the solar power amendment on the 2016 ballot raised nearly $2.8 million over two days to start the month after posting no contributions since June.

Consumers for Smart Solar has raised more than $18.8 million since it began operations in July 2015, mainly through massive support from the utility industry. As of Aug. 5, the committee has about $3.1 million of that money on hand.

Between July 30 and Aug. 5, Smart Solar took in eight contributions, including six-figure sums from Florida Power and Light, Tampa Electric Company and Gulf Power Company. Duke Energy also came in with a $1.5 million check July 30.

The committee also brought in $100,000 from the Associated Industries of Florida and $200,000 from Floridians for a Stronger Democracy, the political committee chaired by AIF lobbyist Ryan Tyson.

Expenditures for the month came it at $64,976, including $37,824 for polling from Alabama-based Hill Research Consultants and $27,102 for consulting and web hosting services from Winter Park-based Consensus Communications.

The ballot initiative would give Floridians the right to own or lease solar equipment to generate power for their own use, and would also give local government authority to “ensure that consumers who do not choose to install solar are not required to subsidize the costs of backup power and electric grid access to those who do.”

Critics say the amendment merely codifies the rights Floridians already enjoy while opening the door to utility companies charging a special fee for solar panel users to maintain access to the power grid.

The amendment will be on the November ballot and requires 60 percent approval from voters to pass.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.

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