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'Smart Solar' Group Rakes In $463K

Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

With backing from four major electric utilities, a newly formed group known as "Consumers for Smart Solar" raised $463,000 in July for a solar-energy ballot initiative, according to a finance report filed Monday.

The group last month announced it would seek to put a solar-energy initiative on the November 2016 ballot.

The proposal is competing with a rival solar-energy initiative by a group called "Floridians for Solar Choice."

The finance report indicates Consumers for Smart Solar collected $463,045 and spent $194,177 between July 23 and July 31.

While it received large checks from several other groups, its contributions included $30,000 from Florida Power & Light, $30,000 from Duke Energy, $30,000 from Gulf Power and $25,000 from Tampa Electric Co. Its expenditures included $102,000 to Nevada-based National Voter Outreach for petition gathering, according to the report.

Meanwhile Monday, Floridians for Solar Choice reported that it raised $81,788 in July, bringing its overall total of $436,741. Also, it had received $314,234 in in-kind contributions as of July 31.

During July, the committee received $50,000 from a political committee linked to the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy and $25,000 from a Georgia-based group known as Conservatives for Energy Freedom, the filing said.

Floridians for Solar Choice also spent $115,021 in July, bringing its overall expenditure total to $333,726.

Floridians for Solar Choice is further along than its new rival in the process of getting on the ballot.

The Florida Supreme Court has scheduled a Sept. 1 hearing to review Floridians for Solar Choice's proposed ballot language.

If the Supreme Court signs off, Floridians for Solar Choice would need to collect 683,149 valid signatures to reach the ballot. As of Monday afternoon, it had submitted 105,167 signatures.

Consumers for Smart Solar had not submitted any signatures to the state as of Monday.