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Vote “No” on 1 to help grow local Latino solar jobs in Florida

“Our state is capable of generating one of the largest solar industries in the country and with it thousands of good-paying jobs. But the confusing Amendment 1 threatens to halt the solar industry in its tracks.”
Founding President & CEO of GreenLatinos, a national coalition of Latino environmental, natural resources, and conservation leaders.
The 102-acre, 15-megawatt Solar Array II Generating Station at Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas, Nevada (arquive) Crédito: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

There are a lot of important reasons to vote this election. While so much is at stake at the top of the ballot for our families, you need to be aware of another attempt to disempower and mislead our community down the ballot.

Amendment 1 is confusing and intended to deceive you in to voting to end solar energy in Florida. Vote No if you want to create a clean energy economy here in Florida, which will create good-paying jobs, reduce pollution and save our families money on their electric bills.

The solar energy industry is an incredible job-creating force that is helping to deliver clean energy that makes our air cleaner and our community healthier. This is why nearly everyone except for monopoly utility believes that we need solar in Florida.

Our state is capable of generating one of the largest solar industries in the country and with it thousands of good-paying jobs. But the confusing Amendment 1 threatens to halt the solar industry in its tracks. I urge all voters to vote “No” on Amendment 1 to allow solar jobs to thrive and clean energy to proliferate throughout the communities that need it most.

Across the country, the solar industry employs more than 200,000 Americans and is growing 12 times faster than the national average. Much cloudier states with much smaller populations have booming solar industries; Massachusetts has over 15,000 solar jobs and New Jersey has more than 7,000. California has been a leader in solar for years, with more than 75,000 jobs, and Florida’s potential is much closer to California’s than its east coast neighbors.

Just imagine the potential we have to create jobs right here in our community.

In addition to job creation, solar brings other benefits to the community. Over the years, the state’s utilities have a long history of polluting our neighborhoods. When they create environmental hazards, the utilities expect our community to pay the bill. We already breathe dirtier air and have a higher likelihood of asthma and other respiratory illness because of dirty power plants located near our neighborhoods. Too many families face a health cost due to poor air quality from the burning of fossil fuels. Solar allows us to move away from this pollution and actually generate clean energy.

Solar also allows all consumers – not just those with panels on their roof – to save money. Rooftop solar reduces the need for new dirty power plants that cost all ratepayers to build. It also reduces the need to build new transmission lines and other large-scale infrastructure. Just this past year California cancelled the construction of 13 electric transmission projects, saving consumers $192 million thanks to the growth of rooftop solar and energy efficiency.

Amendment 1 was specifically worded to confuse Floridians into passing an amendment that will actually hurt the local solar industry. It is critical that the Florida Latino community not be deceived by Amendment 1.

Vote No on November 8th. A No vote will help bring solar jobs to the Latino community in Florida, benefit public health, and allow consumers to see savings from installing solar on their roofs.

Disclaimer: We selected this Op-Ed to be published in our opinion section as a contribution to public debate. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of its author(s) and/or the organization(s) they represent and do not reflect the views or the editorial line of Univision Noticias.