Tallahassee, Fla., (April 10, 2014) – Today hundreds of Floridians, including a former governor, college students, solar industry developers, faith leaders, clean energy advocates and more, are converging on the State Capitol for a Solar Uprising Rally to demand that the legislature and the governor act to unlock solar power development in the Sunshine State.
Although Florida has the best solar potential east of the Mississippi and the third largest potential for rooftop solar generation in the nation, the state ranked only 18th for solar PV installation in 2013. Florida is the most populous state without a renewable energy standard and does not currently allow customers to take advantage of third-party financing options, which have proven in other states to rapidly advance solar deployment.
“Other states with less solar potential are taking advantage of the country’s clean energy boom that results in jobs, energy diversity and economic development for their state economy,” said Susan Glickman, Florida Director of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy. “It’s a fact that solar energy in the Sunshine State is greatly under-utilized. This is because Florida lacks the leadership and policies needed to unlock the solar market.”
This lack of leadership and solar policies is not coincidental, a recent study by Integrity Florida, a non-profit watchdog group, spotlights how campaign contributions and an army of lobbyists for big utilities have hijacked the political process. The report finds that the four largest power companies – Florida Power & Light, Duke Energy, TECO Energy and Gulf Power - have contributed more than $18 million to political campaigns and parties from 2004-2012, and they’ve spent more than $12 million on lobbying in just the last five years.
Today’s speakers, including former Governor Charlie Crist, will address this breakdown in leadership and lack of accountability while highlighting how good policies and enlightened citizens can return Florida to its rightful leadership position in advancing its valuable solar resource.
“Despite his ‘Let’s Get to Work’ initiative, Governor Scott has failed to lead us into the clean energy economy: Florida installed less solar in 2013 than when he was elected back in 2010, despite the average price of solar PV systems declining by more than 50% over the same time period,” said Dr. Stephen A. Smith, executive director of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy.
Floridians are strongly supportive of growing the state’s solar market. A recent survey conducted by Harstad Strategic Research found that 77% of Floridians want to maintain the state’s current net metering policies while another survey found that a whopping 85% of Floridians think the Florida Legislature should encourage investment in solar energy. Such long-overdue clean energy policies will bring jobs, economic development and environmental benefits of solar power to the Sunshine State.
“We’ve come to the Capitol today to send a clear message: If our elected leaders won’t change the policies in support of solar; we will change the leaders,” said Smith. “The only way to overcome the power of corruption is with the power of the people and this Solar Uprising will begin the process to unlock the solar market in Florida.”
Southern Alliance for Clean Energy has developed a YouTube video highlighting the challenges to solar development in Florida and will provide real-time updates all day on several digital media accounts we manage: Instagram,Facebook, Twitter and the Footprints Blog or can be tracked via the #SolarUprising hashtag.