Florida Conservatives Launch Solar Power Initiative Allowing Energy Freedom

| by Edward Arnold

Conservatives in Florida are pushing for solar power reform that would allow residents to produce and sell electricity to each other.

The potential 2016 ballot initiative will challenge the existing law preventing anyone but utility companies from selling electricity directly to customers.

Tony Perfetti, a Tampa Bay resident and leader of Conservatives for Energy Freedom, the group behind the petition, encourages Democrats and Republicans to team up to help solar become a clean energy alternative in their state.

"Floridians have a right to choose where they are going to have their energy coming from," Perfetti said.

Under the political action committee Floridians for Solar Choice, solar advocates will try get at least 683,149 signatures by Feb. 1, 2016, in order to get the initiative on the 2016 ballot. Then, Florida 60 percent of voters will have to approve the legislation for it to pass.

Even though the petition is only weeks old, it has generated a lot of support and media attention. St. Petersburg's House Rep. Dwight Dudley has already commented on the petition.

"I think the people understand that … the power companies have been running the show in Florida for too long," he said. "I'm very excited and happy they're doing it."

The fight will be taken to the companies with a monopoly on utilities. Perfetti has begun to work with tea party leader Debbie Dooley, who is a solar activist herself.

"Conservatives will be out front on this to give Floridians choice and a voice," she said. "All too often, the only voice that is heard is the voice of these very powerful and deep-pocketed monopoly utilities."

The transformation of American energy has become an ideology that existing power companies are going to need to address. While the initiative does face challenges, the idea is proof that conservatives can challenge the status quo to enact reformative change.

Source: Tamba Bay Times / Photo Credit: Solar Electric