Next test for solar power is state Supreme Court

April 24, 2015 6:48 pm

A solar power initiative overcame a lunar pace Friday, advancing to the state Supreme Court for review after Attorney General Pam Bondi ran out the clock in Tallahassee.

“While we were disappointed it has taken the full 30 days to advance to this critical step, we now eagerly await the Supreme Court's opinion,” said Tory Perfetti, head of Floridians for Solar Choice.

Solar Choice is proposing a constitutional amendment to allow property owners to invest in solar and sell energy to neighbors. Under Florida law only state utilities can sell power. A Supreme Court opinion on Solar Choice’s petition language is the final legal hurdle to gain a spot on the 2016 ballot.

Bondi received the measure after the state Division of Elections certified a minimum legal threshold of signatures March 25. Time is important for Solar Choice because the coalition – a unique mix of political, business, and clean energy supporters – needs to attract financial commitments to contend with old-guard energy pushback.

Solarchoice.jpgFlorida Power & Light and Duke Energy each recently unveiled utility-scale solar projects in major public announcements.

Solar Choice hopes the court “will move quickly to render their decision so we can secure a place on the 2016 ballot," Perfetti said. "Even as we wait for the high court's decision, we will continue building support for our ballot campaign by gathering thousands of signatures from Floridians eager for solar choice."

The campaign has 85,505 certified signatures, according to the latest election office figures. The measure needs 683,149 by Feb. 1 to get on the ballot.


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