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St. Pete Chamber urges members to vote ‘yes’ on solar Amendment 4

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

The St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce endorsed Amendment 4, a grass-roots effort to encourage the use of solar power by providing tax breaks to those who install solar equipment. The latest edition of the chamber’s newsletter says, “Chamber members are encouraged to vote for YES on Amendment 4 on the Aug. 30th ballot. Amendment 4 would remove personal property tax and real estate taxes on solar energy systems. The Chamber voted to support YES on 4 and yard signs are…

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Fundraising for solar-energy amendment slows in July

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

Contributions to Consumers for Smart Solar fizzled out in July. State records show the fundraising committee — which is backing the solar-energy ballot initiative — received no contributions between July 2 and July 15. The two-week period marks the two most recent fundraising periods. The group has raised more than $16 million since July 2015. The group spent $615 between July 9 and July 15. All told, the committee has spent more than $13.8 million. Consumers for Smart Solar ended…

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St. Pete Solar Co-op: “Let the sun pay your bills.”

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

St. Petersburg on Tuesday became the first Tampa Bay city to be the site of a solar cooperative. The cooperative will make it easier for homeowners and businesses to afford the equipment needed to rely on solar power, advocates said. “I’m proud to support this idea of co-ops,” St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman said. “It is truly time for St. Petersburg to make solar a part of how we do business.” The co-op is the creation of the St. Pete…

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“Smart Solar” amendment narrowly passes Supreme Court review

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

The Florida Supreme Court on Thursday barely approved a proposed state constitutional amendment on solar power for the 2016 ballot. In a 4-3 decision, the court OK’d the amendment in question, called “Rights of Electricity Consumers Regarding Solar Energy Choice.” It’s backed by Consumers For Smart Solar, supported by the state’s biggest private utilities, including Duke Energy Florida, Florida Power & Light, Gulf Power Co., and Tampa Electric Co. Chief Justice Jorge Labarga and Justice R. Fred Lewis joined the court’s conservatives, Justices Charles…

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Legislative-backed solar amendment cleared for ballot

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A proposed constitutional amendment on solar power passed the Legislature Wednesday and will be on the August ballot. The amendment (HJR 193), backed by Republican state Sen. Jeff Brandes of St. Petersburg, was approved by the Senate and House unanimously. “We have given the people of Florida an opportunity to have a voice on solar,” Brandes said in a statement. “If approved by the voters, we have an opportunity to become a leader in solar and bring thousands of jobs to…

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State Supreme Court allows oral argument for Smart Solar amendment

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

The Florida Supreme Court on Monday granted requests for oral argument on a hotly contested proposed constitutional amendment on solar power. The court scheduled argument at 9 a.m. May 5 for the amendment called “Rights of Electricity Consumers Regarding Solar Energy Choice” and backed by Consumers For Smart Solar. Among other requirements, proposed amendments to the state constitution must be OK’d by the court to ensure they cover only one subject and that their ballot title and summary aren’t misleading. The proposed summary now reads: This…

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FPL breaks ground on new solar power plants

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

At the site of the future Manatee Solar Energy Center in Parrish, Florida Power & Light executives, environmentalists, state and local officials cheered as a groundbreaking ceremony significantly changed the dynamics of solar power in the Sunshine State. At 10:50 a.m. Thursday, FPL President and CEO Eric Silagy and Agricultural Commissioner Adam Putnam flipped the switches on dual Tuchi pile drivers to start the next phase of a 10-plus-year vision for innovation by the Sunshine State’s largest energy provider. The…

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