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Consumers for Smart Solar TV Commercial

(WJHG)
Published: Oct. 19, 2016 at 7:08 PM CDT
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The ads are slick. They can afford to be.

Consumers for Smart Solar has amassed nearly $22 million in donations. Most of it from big utility companies.

Campaign finance reports show the average contribution was $168,000. Organizer Matt Carter is a former utility regulator and says the goal is to protect consumers.

“Protection from fraud," Carter said. "Protection from sub standard equipment. Protections from scams and ripoffs.”

We asked Carter how many consumers had actually contributed.

“I don’t have that information Mike, but it's readily available,” Carter said.

The answer is 12, contributing a total of $405 out of $22 million raised.

A divided Supreme Court allowed the amendment on the ballot because it was nothing technically wrong with it, but in a dissent, one judge called it a wolf in sheep clothing.

The James Madison Institute is listed on the smart solar web site as an endorser. Sal Nuzzo is JMI’s policy director and in a speech he gave in Nashville, seems to validate the judges concerns.

“So, we essentially negated what the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, and all these other folks were after,” Nuzzo said.

Colleen Castille is the former Secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection. She opposes Amendment One.

“I would tell people to vote no because it limits their ability to have solar on their home or on their business,” Castille said.

Sixty percent of Florida’s voters have to approve Amendment One for it to become part of the constitution.

If the amendment is approved, consumers would be prohibited from ever selling excess energy generated by their panels. Solar could also face steep regulation, most like by the Public Service Commission, the same commission regulating utilities.