Last year there were several amendments added to the voting ballot for the state of Florida. One of the amendments rejected by the public was the right tax Solar Power installers, also known as Amendment 1. You may have seen my articles on Amendment 2, dealing with medical marijuana in Florida. Now powerful utility companies like Florida Power & Light want to limit the expansion of solar power use in the State Of Florida.

Solar consumers

Florida is known as the sunshine state because it is sunny and warm all year round. We are in a sub-tropic region that never gets too cold for now and has perfect beaching weather every season.

But the one thing many people want to have is solar powered energy. Since we use the sun to tan our skin and grow our crops, the least we can do is power our home.

Richard Wilkins, a resident of Tampa that uses solar power, told me that he has his swimming pool hooked up to a solar panel, just not his whole house like he wants. He says that while they don’t use it all the time, to have the pool warm all year round is one of the best options for using solar power in Florida. But like all utility consumers, Richard wants to move his house from a utility company to TECO. However, with limitations in place, it is hard to do what you want.

"The problem I have with these electric companies is that what they pass in legislation is for them, not the consumer," he said to me as Amendment 4 was playing its advertisements in the background on his home television.

We chatted about solar energy in Florida over dinner one month last year when Amendment 4 was on the District Representatives ballot.

HB1351

House bill 1351 (HB 1351) says that it prohibits tax collectors from increasing the property tax of a home that uses solar power, this is also known as Amendment 4 that received 73 percent of the votes to be passed.

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But the problem is that the language and verbatim of the amendment meant that it is open to interpretation. While the bill was written by Florida Power and Light, the bill’s sponsor Rep. Ray Rodrigues from Fort Meyers, wants to impose disclosure and paperwork on companies that install and finance solar energy products on homes and businesses.

While Amendment 1 failed to provide utility companies with the means to impose fees on the installers of solar products, the utility companies want to get people interested in solar, if they pay into a solar plant and charge five times as much as people selling their excess energy.