JIM KALLINGER AND DICK BATCHELOR: POLL SHOWS OVERWHELMING SUPPORT FOR AMENDMENT 1

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With already more than 1 million voters signing petitions in support of Amendment 1, Consumers for Smart Solar released the first polling on Amendment 1 since it was certified to the ballot in early February.

The poll showed that the Smart Solar Amendment, which is poised for the November ballot, is widely supported by Florida voters.

The poll of 607 likely voters, found that 73 percent of Florida voters support Amendment 1, with only 15 percent opposed. Even more impressive ??? the poll showed strong support for the amendment across all party, geographic and demographic groups.

Clearly, Florida voters want to encourage greater use of solar while protecting consumers.

That is exactly what Amendment 1 does, and why it enjoys broad voter support from across the political spectrum. Amendment 1 establishes a right under Florida???s Constitution for Floridians to own or lease solar equipment installed on their property to generate electricity for their own use.

Further, Amendment 1 ensures that state and local governments will retain their abilities to protect consumers to ensure that those 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.

Why is Amendment 1 necessary??? Because renewable energy generally, and solar energy specifically, are a new world of technology and business structures. And believe it or not, there are out-of-state companies that don???t want people to own their own solar equipment and generate their own electricity.

They prefer an arrangement where they can set up shop in Florida, immune from consumer protection laws, and lock Floridians into 20-year contracts with annual cost escalator clauses, whereby consumers would pay more for solar electricity than we pay for energy today.

Amendment 1 ensures that Floridians will always have the right to own their own solar equipment and generate their own electricity. It also makes sure that solar has to play by the same consumer protection rules as other energy sources.

And because it puts these rights and protections into Florida???s constitution, they cannot be weakened by policy makers or special interests.

We believe that Amendment 1 will create the economic certainty necessary to encourage Floridians considering solar to proceed with that investment, knowing that their rights are protected in our constitution, and that the health, safety and welfare of the public will be protected.

Jim Kallinger and Dick Batchelor are co-chairmen of Consumers for Smart Solar. Column courtesy of Context Florida.