Hot on the heels of a state ballot initiative that saw voters reject utility-sponsored restrictions on rooftop solar development, SolarCity has unveiled a new home solar service for customers in the Sunshine State.
The expansion is “something we’ve wanted to announce for a long time,” the company said in a blog post last week.
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“Today’s announcement was made possible when the citizens of Florida rejected the anti-solar Amendment 1, which would have made it easier for utilities to add fees to make solar more expensive for customers,” the blog stated. “The Amendment was disguised as a pro-solar policy in what amounted to a cynical attempt by solar opponents to slow down solar development in the state.”
That electoral result “reinforce[d] to any policy-maker or regulator that when you’re making the rules, consider that the voters voted for competition and energy choice,” CEO Lyndon Rive told the Orlando Sentinel.
Last week, as well, a Republican legislator introduced a measure to support broader solar development in Florida, Greentech Media reports. “The voters of Florida spoke loud and clear that they expect the Sunshine State to make the expansion of solar and renewable energy a priority,” said State Senator Jeff Brandes (R-Pinellas County). “I have been committed to diversifying our energy portfolio, and I am excited about the opportunity to bring further investment in solar and renewable energy production.”
Grist notes that the defeat of Amendment 1 “points to a significant fault line in the GOP: It’s financially dominated by fossil fuel oligarchs (who will now have a major say in the Trump administration), but it’s also filled with people who think that renewable energy is about as conservative as you can get. And that suggests there are ripe opportunities for bipartisan cooperation on clean power—especially in states where it can provide a big boost to the economy.”
Correspondent Heather Smith suggests five lessons for solar advocates from the Florida vote: Conservative voters “can be big clean energy boosters if you sell it right,” she says, but it isn’t always helpful to mention climate change—and “it’s good to have a common enemy.” Advocates must also be nimble enough to change course when necessary, while remembering that “grassroots organizing can beat big money.”