Florida tries to reclaim its identity as the Sunshine State. - Grist


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Florida tries to reclaim its identity as the Sunshine State.

The state may rank third in the U.S. for rooftop solar potential and have as many as 128 sunny days a year, but Florida lags in solar installations. The state ranks 14th in the country — wintry states like New York and Massachusetts have more solar.

But times are a-changing. On Tuesday, Florida voters overwhelmingly approved an amendment to the state constitution that cuts property taxes on residential and commercial properties with solar panels.

Another signal of the industry’s rapid growth came last year, when installations grew by 90 percent (not a very difficult feat when less than 1 percent of your power comes from solar, but still).

For years, Florida’s utility monopoly essentially boxed out the solar industry, according to Rolling Stone’s Tim Dickinson. In November, voters must decide on another amendment, this one sponsored by utility companies and Koch-linked organizations, that may disallow residents from selling their extra solar power back to companies, or change the rates they’re paid. Critics say it will hurt solar and give utilities the upper hand.

Don’t start singing “Here comes the sun” yet, folks.