This so-called “Solar” Amendment is not a solar amendment at all but rather an attempt by the big four power companies to mislead citizens of Florida. This solar sham is being orchestrated and paid for by your favorite gargantuan out-of-state power utility companies - the folks who ran power lines through the Bay and down our streets - Southern Company (Georgia - owner of Gulf Power) and Duke Power (North Carolina - Duke Energy).

The TV ads promoting this scandal are being paid for by these out-of-state billionaires, the owners of, you guessed it, the power companies. $25 million so far and counting.

These monopolies and their investors want to control your rooftops to be sure you can’t compete with them to provide clean power to your neighbors while they burn coal – 67 percent of Gulf’s power and 40 percent of Duke’s power sources. Even worse, Gulf Power sends over 25 percent of that power north out of Florida, polluting our air and water while generating electricity for Atlanta and Birmingham.

These two power companies – Gulf and Duke – teaming up with Florida Power & Light and with Tampa Electric, would stop you from renting your rooftops to a solar company and producing clean electricity for you and your entire block at a discount below your current electric bill. Guess why? That would break their power monopoly.

The question really boils down to who owns your roof versus who owns the power companies. So, you might suspect that these companies want to maintain their monopolies on power generation by putting into our constitution a misleading and deceitful bit of language that once done, will be difficult to undo. This isn’t constitutional law - it’s a power grab!

Don’t let out-of-state special interests and monopoly money mislead you with TV lies. Florida sunshine belongs to all of us. It’s free; don’t let them steal it. Vote No on Amendment 1.

Flip Froelich is former director of the Oceans and Climates Division of Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and associate director of the Observatory. He was also director of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Georgia Institute of Technology. Most recently he held the Francis Eppes Chair in Oceanography at Florida State University. He has lived on St. George Island since 1991.