A worker finishes installing solar panels funded by federal stimulus funds atop a government building.
Photo by John Moore/Getty

Florida officials reject ‘Sunshine State’ label

State officials in Florida, at the behest of power companies, recently agreed to gut the state’s energy-saving goals and scrap Florida’s solar-rebate programs. It’s part of the larger effort to discourage renewable energy in the state, boosting power companies’ profits.
What’s striking is how proponents of these moves are trying to justify themselves. The Palm Beach Post’s Frank Cerabino reported yesterday on a quote I hadn’t heard before.
You might imagine that you live in the Sunshine State, but there are sunshine deniers among us. It’s easy to find them. Just mention that Florida is woefully lagging when it comes to using solar energy.
“I think the whole ‘Sunshine State’ is just a license plate slogan,” Public Service Commission Chairman Art Graham said during a recent commission hearing. “When you look at it, we are No. 5 overall when it comes to rainfall of all the other states.”
Graham’s not alone as a sunshine denier. For years, state lawmakers have been scuttling renewable energy plans by claiming that “intermittent cloud cover” makes sunshine too unreliable in Florida.
Yes, we’ve officially reached the point at which Florida officials, so eager to undermine renewable-energy programs, are now publicly rejecting the idea that the Sunshine State has, well, sunshine.
For the record, despite what the head of Florida’s Public Service Commission may want the public to believe, “Sunshine State” is not just “a license plate slogan.” As Rachel noted on the show last week, it’s the state’s official motto and a key element of Florida’s identity.
“Florida is technically speaking the Sunshine State. That’s their official state nickname. They do not mean it as a metaphor. They mean that as a founding principle, right? A main attraction of what Florida is.
“The Florida Department of Citrus has a new branded Avengers character called Captain Citrus. Captain Citrus runs on solar power. The circles on his hands are solar pods. ‘Maybe it’s my solar pods, but you are going down!’
“Florida is so much the Sunshine State the whole ad campaign for the city of Ft. Lauderdale is called Find Your Sunny. And you can find Ft. Lauderdale at Sunny.org. Explore your sunny side in Florida, the Sunshine State.
“And so, now, naturally, because it’s Florida, Florida has declared war on the sun, even as it still wants to be known as the Sunshine State. This past week, very quietly just before Thanksgiving, Florida incredibly decided to try to kill solar power in the state of Florida. They voted to kill entirely the rebate program in the state for installing solar panels.”
The Rachel Maddow Show, 12/1/14, 9:20 PM ET

'Sunshine State' spurns solar power potential

Rachel Maddow reports on how the state of Florida, despite its sunny disposition (and marketing), is cutting back solar energy incentives and goals, letting power companies off the hook over the objections of clean energy advocates.

Florida and Solar Power

Florida officials reject 'Sunshine State' label