Open Letter Requesting NAACP Opposition to Amendment 1

The following is a letter written by Steve Rutherford, President of Tampa Bay Solar, a Service Disabled Veteran Owned Business and a Certified Minority Owned Business.

To whom it may concern, (NAACP, National Black Chamber of Commerce, National Congress of Black Women and Florida State Hispanic Chamber of Commerce)

I have attached a recent photo taken that includes students who attended Erwin Technical College in Tampa, FL with hopes of entering the solar industry. These students represent the next generation of energy for the state of Florida. They would be joining a growing industry of contractor professionals with a goal to help usher in one of the most responsible industries in the world. 

Amendment 1 is discriminatory to minorities in Florida solar

Amendment 1 is discriminatory to minorities in Florida solar.

As a minority small business owner deeply engaged in preparing and installing the energy of the future in Florida, I am very troubled by the blind support given to the Utility sponsored Amendment 1 listed on the ballot in Florida this November.  Amendment 1 is discriminatory by design.  This amendment will not help consumers or the minority community.  The amendment is designed to keep the control of energy in the hands of the monopolies and suffocate the growth of the solar industry.  Support for amendment 1 will remove private investment from solar that reduces energy cost for consumers in Florida and increase the demand from current Florida energy consumers to pay for utility sponsored power plants designed to further pollute our environment and yield control of the Florida energy market to the few. 

I strongly encourage you to withdrawal your support for Amendment 1 in November.  Younger minorities, myself included, see the solar industry as a new horizon focused on providing respectable incomes working in an industry that is doing right by the environment and the state.  Younger minorities are being offered opportunities to “raise the bar” and receive a higher education through programs found in schools like Erwin Technical College located in the inner city of Tampa, FL.  Our company, Tampa Bay Solar / Tampa Energy Solutions is focused on training and preparing the workforce of tomorrow that will be diverse, highly educated and better prepared for what can become one of the largest growing industries in our state. 

Amendment 1 Blocks the Sun!  It also blocks opportunities for students like the ones in this photo from entering solar industry.  It blocks the state from reaching its potential and becoming a leader in the future of energy.  I ask that you immediately withdraw your support for Amendment 1.  Our students, like those in this photo, support the future of solar in Florida. 


Steve Rutherford

President, Tampa Bay Solar

Service Disabled Veteran Owned Business

Certified Minority Owned Business, City of Tampa