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Justice Pariente: Pro-Solar Consumers Beware

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A controversial solar power amendment is not misleading and belongs on the November ballot, a divided Florida Supreme Court ruled Thursday.

By a four to three majority, justices ruled the Consumers for Smart Solar amendment does what it says it does – strengthens an existing right to own and use solar power.

But Justice Barbara Pariente noted the amendment is backed by the state’s largest utility companies. She wrote “let pro-solar consumers beware.”  David Guest, an attorney for the opponents, agrees with Pariente.

“The real fair title of the amendment should have been an amendment to extend utilities’ monopoly and stop the increase of solar power on peoples’ houses in Florida.”

The amendment also guarantees a utility customer’s right not to quote “subsidize” solar power. Guest argues that’s a back-door attempt to end net metering, which allows solar customers to resell their excess electricity.

“So it’s a device to advocate, endorse the idea that solar users should be subject to discriminatory rates when they buy electricity, and even more discriminatory rates when they sell electricity to the grid.”

Organizers for a competing amendment, Floridians for Solar Choice, failed to raises enough signatures to make this year’s ballot.