Over the past 18 months, residents of Florida have been bombarded with competing Solar Amendments that seem, on the surface, to be advocating for more solar power in the Sunshine State. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Currently, this year, Florida residents will see two different solar amendments, one on the primary ballot on August 30th and one on the general election ballot on November 8th. I want to clear up the confusion between these two amendments.

Amendment 4 is a grass-roots supported, bi-partisan proposal, not to be confused with the utility-backed proposal on the November ballot.

 Amendment 4 will amend Florida’s Constitution to exempt the value of solar panels and other renewable energy equipment from both the tangible personal property tax and the real property tax. To become law, Amendment 4 must be approved by a YES vote of at least 60 percent on the Aug. 30 primary ballot.

Several barriers are holding back the solar market in Florida, including the burdensome tangible personal property tax and the real property tax on solar equipment. Amendment 4 will remove those two barriers, lowering bills and energy costs, reducing pollution, and allowing more Florida homes and businesses access to affordable solar power.

In addition to helping customers lock in energy cost savings, and reducing pollution for a more sustainable energy future, Amendment 4 will encourage solar companies to move into Florida, creating new jobs that support the local economy. The solar industry is creating jobs 20 times faster than the overall economy. The vast majority of those jobs are living-wage opportunities that cannot be outsourced, keeping energy dollars right here at home. It’s a win-win for the whole state.

Why vote YES for Amendment 4?
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  1. Lower taxes on solar = lower bills, a sustainable future for Florida, increased access to more affordable solar, and new local jobs.
  2. Amendment 4 Empowers Floridians To Be Energy Independent
  3. Amendment 4 Paves the Way for a Sustainable Florida
  4. Amendment 4 Reduces Monthly Power Bills
  5. Amendment 4 Creates Local Jobs

The other amendment that you will encounter is utility-backed amendment. It will appear on the November 8th ballot. Its purpose is to ensure the only way to purchase solar generated electricity will be through your local electric company. The utility companies operating in Florida want to protect their profits at your expense. For example, one of the largest utilities in Florida just proposed a 24% rate increase over the next four years. For this reason, I am recommending that you vote NO for the solar amendment in November. Remember, vote NO in NOvember.

Don’t forget to vote “Yes on 4” on August 30th!

My name is Monica Mayotte. I am a 20-year Boca Raton resident and the former chairperson of the city’s Green Living Advisory Board. I am also a Regional Climate Leader for the Climate Reality Project (www.climaterealityproject.org). Over the past several years, I have been committed to advocating for a sustainable lifestyle for all by committing to reduce our impact on our environment by eliminating the use of fossil fuels for energy, water protection and conservation, and healthy living.