Republican, Tea Partier want to overthrow utility company tyranny with Florida solar power plan
An unlikely pairing of conservative activists is pushing a plan that would allow Florida residents to sell off excess solar power to their neighbors.
The measure would allow business or property owners to produce up to 2 megawatts of solar power and sell that energy directly to other customers without giving utilities a cut, reported the Tampa Bay Times.
State law currently allows only utilities to sell electricity directly to consumers, although 36 other states allow individuals to do so.
Tony Perfett, a Tampa Republican and head of Conservatives for Energy Freedom, is pushing the measure, which he says would promote solar as a clean-energy alternative.
He’s joined in his efforts by some other local Republicans and Democrats, in addition to Georgia Tea Party leader Debbie Dooley.
Dooley successfully pushed for more solar power in her own state, and she said the issue is consistent with conservative free market values.
The Florida Department of State approved the petition Dec. 23, and organizers began circulating it after the holidays.
Utility companies, of course, oppose the measure, arguing that the sale of energy from rooftop solar panels would put more pressure on low-income residents to pay for power plants and other energy infrastructure.
The group must gather more than 683,000 signatures by Feb. 1, 2016, to place the measure on the 2016 ballot.
Then it must win support from 60 percent of voters to pass.