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Solar Initiative Tops Petition Threshold


A group backing a solar-energy ballot initiative has submitted enough valid petition signatures to take the issue to voters in November --- but still needs approval from the Florida Supreme Court for the proposed ballot wording.

The group known as "Consumers for Smart Solar" had submitted 695,376 valid petition signatures as of early Friday evening, topping the 683,149 needed to get on the ballot. The Supreme Court also must sign off on the proposed constitutional amendment and will look at whether the ballot wording would be clear to voters.

The Consumers for Smart Solar initiative is backed by a coalition that includes Florida Power & Light, Duke Energy, Tampa Electric and Gulf Power. It started after a group known as "Floridians for Solar Choice" began trying to get on the ballot with a rival solar initiative.

Floridians for Solar Choice recently said it will not continue trying to get on the 2016 ballot but will turn its attention to 2018.

The Consumers for Smart Solar measure would generally maintain the status quo in allowing Floridians with solar equipment on their property to sell energy to power companies.

"Because of the support of hundreds of thousands of Floridians from across our state, Florida voters will have the opportunity to approve an amendment that is good for consumers, good for the environment and good for Florida,” Jim Kallinger co-chair of Consumers for Smart Solar, said in a prepared statement Friday after the group topped the petition threshold.

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