Florida solar backers seek ballot despite signatures dispute

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The leaders of a solar power ballot initiative are vowing to charge ahead with trying to get on Florida’s 2016 ballot, despite a financial dispute with a company hired to recruit signature gatherers.

In a conference call with reporters Friday afternoon, Stephen Smith, a board member of Floridians for Solar Choice, said about 212,000 signed forms are being held by PCI Consulting, the California group hired to help gather signatures.

Smith is also executive director of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy. He says he thinks the dispute will be resolved and more than a third of the needed signatures have already been verified.

If it does not make it onto the 2016 ballot, Smith says most of the verified signatures will still apply toward qualifying for 2018. He blames the state’s monopoly utilities for acting unethical and deceptive, in part for their competing ballot initiative called Consumers for Smart Solar.