Solar's Florida Future: Mostly Sunny

Solar industry advocates in Florida are forecasting a mostly sunny future with just a few uncertainties after voters failed to approve a constitutional amendment supported by big utilities in a bitter election battle.

A sign of the increased confidence was an announcement on Dec. 1 by SolarCity, the nation's largest installer, of plans to expand its operations into Florida.

"The industry is evolving almost as rapidly as cell phones these days," said Ray Johnson, president and founder of Fort Lauderdale-based Florida Solar One, one of Solar Power World magazine's 500 most influential solar contractors in North America in 2015. "Solar panels are priced at an all-time low and are now 500 percent cheaper than they were eight years ago."

On Dec. 1, the company, chaired by Tesla Motors founder Elon Musk, announced plans to expand its Florida operations. The decision was directly related to the defeat of Amendment 1, the company said.