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'Smart Solar' group spends heavily on advertising

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A group seeking voter approval in November of a solar-energy ballot initiative shelled out $1.77 million this month for advertising, according to a newly filed finance report.

Consumers for Smart Solar, which has been heavily funded by electric utilities, paid the money to National Media Research, Planning & Placement, a Virginia-based firm.

Consumers for Smart Solar also paid $6.5 million in May to National Media Research, Planning & Placement for advertising.

The Consumers for Smart Solar proposal, if approved by voters, would add to the state Constitution existing rules that allow Floridians with solar equipment on their property to sell energy to power companies.

The measure has drawn opposition from groups such as the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, which contends the amendment is designed to favor utilities.

Consumers for Smart Solar has raised slightly more than $16 million since starting in July 2015 and had spent $15.6 million as of last week, the finance report shows.