Why I support Florida’s Amendment 1


Elections rarely offer an opportunity for communities of color to directly impact the structure of our economy or our household budgets. With so much focus on who will succeed Barack Obama, the November elections call for communities of color to be just as focused on structuring solar energy policy to meet our needs for affordable electricity rates and access to innovative electricity technology.

Voting yes on Amendment 1 is a step communities of color can take to fulfill those needs.

Protects consumers
Amendment 1 makes changes to our constitution that provide us with important consumer protections. As more consumers install rooftop solar panels and generate their own electricity, their reliance on their utility’s electric grid will decline. Along with this decline in grid reliance comes also a decline in what the solar consumer pays for electricity.

Paying less for electricity, it goes without saying, is great for budget-conscious consumers. Consumers who have the ability and willingness to invest in solar should do so.

However, there is a downside to increased solar participation – a downside that Amendment 1 addresses. As solar consumers contribute less to maintaining the electric grid, consumers who continue to rely completely on the grid will be left picking up more of the cost of the grid. This means the possibility of higher rates imposed on the poor.

Fortunately, Amendment 1 allows state and local governments to correct this unfair and regressive result. By voting “Yes” on Amendment 1, voters ensure that this important consumer protection and civil rights tool is put in place.

Buy or lease
Voting “Yes” on Amendment 1 also provides consumers with a Florida state constitutional right to buy or lease solar panels. In my opinion, this promotes access to innovative technology that will provide communities of color with additional legal leverage when breaking down barriers to solar markets – whether as a consumer or as an entrepreneur.

Let’s use this fall election as an opportunity to ensure fairness in energy policy. Let’s also use our vote to protect the economic status of communities of color by voting “Yes” on Amendment 1.

Adora Obi Nweze is a life member of the NAACP and president of the Florida State Conference of NAACP Branches.


  1. Please vote “No” on Amendment 1.

    The rights that the Amendment purports to protect are rights we already have and people are already exercising. It is very cleverly worded to make it seem like consumers are receiving new rights, but they aren’t.

    Actually, in the last sentence of the Amendment, the power companies are given the right to charge consumers for their solar power! This is so that solar companies do not lose money, as they anticipate losing.

    The big power companies have invested over $20 million to promote Amendment 1.

    Also, there are consumer protections in place to keep the rest of us who remain reliant on the grid from suffering from FPL and others’ lost profits. The “we’re going to hurt the little guy if we don’t do this” argument is how FPL, Duke Energy, Tampa Electric, and Gulf Power are trying to threaten legislators and voters into helping them please their shareholders.

    Please don’t fall for it.

    Finally, those with excess solar energy have the ability to share/sell their energy with others under our current rights. This is something that many businesses and enterprising individuals are interested in doing– installing solar power panels and generators and then selling it to their neighborhoods. This is a free market solution that would keep costs down and provide some healthy competition for the big power companies.
    Please vote no on Amendment 1 on November 8th.

    Links for further reading:




  2. He is wrong. Like most amendments in Florida, it is written with vague wording to permit GOP to mold it to fit their regressive purposes. This is meant to force consumers to continue to pay giant energy companies a fee even if they are totally off the grid. In effect, it is a tax on all homeowners that must be paid to private energy corporations, whether they provide you with power or not. This serves as a dis-incentive to de-centralized power production through renewable sources, such as sun and wind.

  3. Do NOT vote for Amendment No. ! – note for Amendment No. 4! No 1 is a deceptively worded piece that major utility companies in Florida are pushing because they don’t want to lose money when consumers purchase the means to benefit from solar power. The League of Women Voters, the Tampa Bay Times, and other newspapers recommend against No. 1 because it is a scam. Please see this: http://www.flsolarchoice.org/

  4. Please vote NO on amendment 1. It adds nothing for the consumer and only protects the greedy oligopoly of the power utilities.

    If we really want to help consumers, then we need well regulated solar companies such as they have in New York. There, the consumer does not have to invest the capital to install solar and they get the benefit of lower electricity costs for solar power. I am a landlord and I cannot afford to install solar on the homes I rent as I would not get any return because the tenants pay for electricity. But, if I could use one of these solar companies then I could install solar panels as a benefit for my tenants and the environment.

  5. Amendment 1 is a power company ploy to keep the money in their pockets. They are harming risk taking pioneers, showing us all the way off of fossil fuel dependence.


  6. Vote NO on this amendment. It is an attempt to limit solar power in Florida, not an extension of “rights”. You already have the right to purchase, install, and use solar panels to produce your own power. You do not need this amendment for that. What this amendment will do is make solar users pay through the nose for having the nerve to create their own power instead of relying solely on the “grid”. It will also allow power companies to buy the excess power created by solar owners at a rate far below market, and will forbid solar owners from sharing or selling their excess power with neighbors rather than selling it to the power companies. This will NOT help poor people in any way. Vote NO!!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. I’d really like to know who sponsored this article. Better question would be how much of the 20 million invested by power companies did they pay for this bull crap.

    This is what it boils down to, you’re trying to use the concept of poor people being left out of something to try and sway voters to protecting your monopoly.

    All you’ve done is further make people want to cut the power cord.

    Its not illegal now to lease solar panels so what right are they giving us? The power companies aren’t leasing solar panels because they don’t want to push solar tech.

    Imagine if they weren’t criminals at heart and wanted to be proactive instead of tricking their customers. They literally could come up with a solar panel leasing plan and offer some kind of mainatanance fee based on how much you use it.

    They’d still make money and give customers the “off the grid” piece of mind. I assure you most households are going to go with an option from their power companies before learning all the details and intricacies of solar technology and how to safely store it.

    I’m an network engineer by trade and I did hours of research learning about solar technology.

  8. […] The political committee promoting Amendment 1 has used this argument to win the support of groups such as the NAACP of Florida, the Central Florida Urban League, the Jacksonville Urban League and the Pinellas County Urban League. NAACP President Adora Obi Nweze, for example, defended the amendment in a recent op-ed in the Florida Courier. […]


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