EDITORIAL – Vote no on Amendment 1

Posted on November 3, 2016 by Romi White

PHOTO: Tesla CEO Elon Musk last Friday surprised the solar industry with the revelation that the company will manufacture rooftop solar tiles which he described as the future of domestic solar power.

Gulf Power Company has spent about $2.2 million of its profits to support the Amendment 1 solar initiative. But you should consider voting no.

Here’s why…

Major Florida utility companies, including Gulf Power, have given more than $20 million to push Amendment 1.

The verbiage used for Amendment 1 has been described as “deceptive” by Former Florida Governor and U.S. Senator Bob Graham and others.

Opponents of Amendment 1 on Wednesday filed a lawsuit to stop the measure, which is being reviewed by the Florida Supreme Court after an insider was caught saying supporters should use “political jiu-jitsu” to spin solar’s popularity to their favor.

Misleadingly called the “Consumers for Smart Solar” initiative, Amendment 1 aims to bypass the Florida legislation to directly amend Florida Constitution’s to limit the solar industry.

That’s why existing utility giants like Gulf Power, Florida Power & Light, Duke Energy, Tampa Electric Co. are pouring millions toward supporting it. To protect their revenue stream.

Supporters of Amendment 1 contend that homeowners using solar power don’t give utility companies enough money to maintain infrastructure like transmission lines.

They also CLAIM they’re looking out for paying customers by arguing that reimbursements and tax rebates for those using solar aren’t fair.

“We support Smart Solar because it guarantees that Floridians will have the right to have solar while providing basic consumer protections,” stated Gulf Power Spokesman Jeff Rogers in an email to South Santa Rosa News.

Baloney. It provides Gulf Power and other utility giants protection from competition.

And don’t expect Gulf Power to stop spending their profits in the fight to limit alternative and renewable energy sources. That battle is just heating up.

Also keep in mind that at the same time Gulf Power is spending millions to support Amendment 1, its asking for a $115-125 million rate increase through its regulatory agency, the Florida Public Service Commission.

If the PSC approve the hike, residential power bills will increase by 7 percent starting in July.

Solar rooftops a threat

Last Friday Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, unveiled the creation of glass solar panel tiles the company is touting as the future of domestic solar energy.

Tesla’s tiles can replace normal residential roofs and will be available in four styles: Tuscan, textured, slate and smooth. Musk argues they look “as good or better” than conventional roofs.

The promo video shows the tiles withstanding force better than terracotta and other traditional roofing materials

The roofing tiles are designed to work in conjunction with the company’s Powerwall 2, a $5,500 back-up battery which stores solar energy, enabling homes to go “off the grid.”

The Powerwall 2 will be available in January and has up to a 10-year life.

This is going to be a game changer.

Late inventor Nikola Tesla, namesake of the company which has been known for manufacturing electric cars, would be proud.

Tesla was known as an eccentric genius who worked for Edison and developed AC power transmission and radio and designed the first hydroelectric power plant. You also owe thanks to him for your television’s remote control.

Lesser known is his work toward the wireless transmission of electricity.

He built a 185-foot tower from which he envisioned transmitting messages and power. His financial backer, J.P. Morgan (yes, that J.P. Morgan), pulled funding when he couldn’t figure out a way to profit off the idea.

But fortunately Tesla’s pioneering of wireless electrical transmission wasn’t completely disregarded. It was used to develop today’s wireless phone chargers.

A museum is finally being built in Tesla’s honor at the former tower site. It’s sad that the magnitude of his visionary work wasn’t appreciated during his lifetime.

If he were alive today, I’d strongly recommend Tesla not fly on any Gulf Power corporate jets…