Ricardo Rangel, Truman National Security Project Political Partner and OpFree supporter, was featured in The Orlando Political Observer discussing Florida’s Amendment 1.
Ask most people what the best states are for solar energy, and Florida tends to be near the top of the list. The name alone—the Sunshine State—makes it seem like a no brainer for a booming and prosperous solar industry. But Florida is ranked just 15th in the U.S. for total solar capacity because our policies lag behind many other states in the nation.
In fact, there’s one such bad policy on our ballot right now.
Amendment 1, titled “Rights of Electricity Consumers Regarding Solar Energy Choice,” is like a poisoned apple for the solar industry. If passed, it would allow the local utilities to add special charges for solar customers, and effectively blot out the rooftop solar industry in Florida. Its title makes it sound like it’s about consumer rights and choice, but don’t be fooled; similar policies have already been passed to devastating effect in states like Arizona and Nevada.
Amendment 1 would deprive Florida of thousands of jobs and perhaps billions of dollars in economic investment that other states are enjoying. Massachusetts and New Jersey, for example, have solar economies that far exceed Florida’s, even with less sunlight and half of the population. In fact, the solar industry is growing all across the nation; in 2015, solar employment grew nearly 12 times faster than the national employment growth rate of 1.7 percent. There is huge potential to create good-paying, local solar jobs in Florida—especially for our 1.5 million veterans. The solar industry employs over 200,000 workers and a higher percentage of veterans than the overall U.S. workforce.
Ricardo Rangel is a member of the Truman National Security Project Political Partners, a former United States Army Sergeant and former State Representative. Views are his own.