Firefighters withdraw endorsement for Amendment 1

Posted at 8:01 PM, Nov 07, 2016

Richard Silvestri recently turned to the sun to harness its power.

“You’re looking at $28,000 so that’s a pretty good sized investment.”

The Fort Pierce homeowner put in 30 solar panels in his yard, and has cut his electric bill in half.

“It validates the work that I’m trying to do to try and help the environment," said Silvestri.

But Silvestri does not support Amendment 1.  In ads put out by Amendment 1 supporters, that include the state's largest utilities,  there is an implication that solar panels could be a fire hazard.

“The state fire marshal didn’t put out any alert that solar panels were a danger.  The National Fire Protection Association did not put out an alert," said Silvestri.

When Silvestri, a retired Miami-Dade fire captain, saw that the union representing the state’s professional firefighters, was supporting Amendment 1, he decided to act. Silvestri was among many who sent letters to the Florida Professional Firefighters in Tallahassee, who late Friday withdrew its endorsement.

A spokesperson with Consumers For Smart Solar, the group advocating for its passage, said all digital and social media efforts have been scrubbed and the ad was pulled. The group did not respond to questions about losing the endorsement.

Silvestri says he got no rebate, or subsidy for his solar investment and few things have been inspected more than his solar array.

“Were fighting a David versus Goliath battle here," said Silvestri.