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Contested FPL rate settlement would boost alternative energy sources

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There’s a hefty green energy element to Florida Power & Light Co.’s proposed $811 million electric rate increase, now before the Public Service Commission. The proposed settlement in the rate case would allow the power company to expand an experiment with battery technology, with the company absorbing $115 million in development costs. “We think it makes sense to get ahead of the curve and understand what value can accrue to the system by deploying batteries — whether it be to large…

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Jimmy Buffett encourages Floridians to vote no on solar power amendment

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Listen up, Parrotheads. Jimmy Buffett released a video weighing in on two ballot amendments over the weekend. Buffett encouraged Floridians to vote no on Amendment 1, a solar power initiative, and yes on Amendment 2, the medical marijuana initiative. “It’s obvious what’s going on,” said Buffett in the video. “Vote no on 1.” Amendment 1 is backed by the state’s major electric companies, and outlines the rules for solar power in Florida. It would put existing law dealing with the rights…

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Central Florida, Jacksonville, Pinellas urban leagues back solar power amendment

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The solar power amendment scored the backing of three more organizations. Consumers for Smart Solar announced Wednesday the Central Florida Urban League, the Jacksonville Urban League, and the Pinellas County Urban League were endorsing the 2016 solar power initiative. In a joint statement released by the campaign, the three organizations said they believe the amendment “provides an effective hammer for breaking down these barriers while providing regulators with the tools to protect low-income consumers who still rely entirely on the…

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Consumers for Smart Solar raises $300K during first week of October

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Add another $300,000 to Consumers for Smart Solar’s coffers. State records show Consumers for Smart Solar, the group backing the solar power amendment, raised $300,000 between Oct. 1 and Oct. 7. Records show the committee received two contributions for $150,000 each from the Partnership for Affordable Clean Energy and the Florida Faith and Freedom Coalition. The Partnership for Affordable Clean Energy is a Montgomery, Alabama-based coalition of “working people, business owners, environmentalists, and trade organizations who are fighting for fair, responsible energy…

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Consumers for Smart Solar raises $75K in one week

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Consumers for Smart Solar is continuing to spend big on advertising, dropping hundreds of thousands of dollars on direct mail in the last week of September. Records show the group behind the solar power ballot initiative spent $311,085 between Sept. 24 and Sept. 30. That sum includes $208,422 to an Orlando-based firm for a direct mail campaign. Mailers began hitting Floridians’ mailboxes in September, encouraging them to support the solar initiative. The mailers call the proposal “a straightforward plan that encourages solar.”…

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Consumers for Smart Solar spends more than $500K on advertising in one week

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The group backing the solar power amendment spent more than $760,000 in one week. State records show Consumers for Smart Solar spent $761,758 between Sept. 17 and Sept. 23, the most recent campaign finance reporting period. Records show the organization spent $507,400 on advertising and $202,349 on direct mail during the one-week reporting period. Consumers for Smart Solar launched a direct mail campaign in September. The mailers encourage Floridians to support the solar amendment and call it a “straightforward plan…

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Amendment 4 wins — measure would expand solar power in Florida

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A constitutional amendment intended to expand the use of solar power in Florida has passed. The measure is won statewide by a huge 73 percent to 27 percent margin. The measure needed 60 percent to win. Amendment 4 exempts solar devices and equipment from being subject to the personal tangible property tax. A business that currently has solar panels is now being taxed on the panels or devices in addition to their building. The new amendment will now exempt businesses with solar panels from paying…

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