Floridians Call on Candidates to Embrace Solar

by Kate Melges

October 29, 2014

Floridians rally for solar energy. Photo Credit: Mitch Perry

Floridians rally for solar energy. Photo Credit: Mitch Perry

Written by, Rebekah Anderson

Yesterday I attended one of the most creative protests Ive ever seen. Dressed in yellow and orange, we danced to sunshine songs and held mirrors to reflect the sun onto Duke Energys headquarters. This was a visual display of our demand to the next Governor of Florida to make solar energy a bigger part of the Sunshine States electricity production even though Duke Energy has contributed $1.2 million to current Governor Rick Scotts campaign to make sure solar legislation isnt passed.

With the Governors election next week, solar energy has become a serious topic in Florida. In debates for the governors race, Rick Scott and Charlie Crist have been asked about their plans both to fight climate change as well as how they will help Florida switch to using renewable energy. Miami has even made a local proposal that Florida should divide into two states, because South Florida is already suffering rising sea levels and legislators have been slow to help.

Florida is ranked 3rd of the states for its solar potential but actual production is way behind. Although our state is known as the Sunshine State – it even says that on our welcome sign!

Florida homes are required by law to be hooked up to an electrical grid, effectively making living off the grid illegal even if you have solar panels on your house that supply 24 hour power. There is also no statewide solar rebate program to help get more solar panels on homes. A Renewables Portfolio Standard, like the one proposed in 2009 by then Governor Charlie Crist, would require utility companies to produce electricity through renewable sources.

Solar energy is a no-brainer here in the Sunshine State. We just need a Governor with brains to recognize that and work to help our state realize its potential.

Kate Melges

By Kate Melges

Kate Melges is an oceans campaigner based in Seattle. She leads Greenpeace’s Ocean Plastics work. Kate’s focus is ending the flow of plastic pollution into the ocean.

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