Florida is starting to experience its own solar boom, and it’s the result of a growing grassroots movement teaching people how to make money off their roofs.
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A new report by the solar industry publication PV Magazine showed the Sunshine State leading the nation in solar growth, with a 110 percent increase in new residential solar permits granted last year over the previous year. Deirdre Macnab, solar chair at the League of Women Voters of Florida, said she credits the growth to the League’s statewide partnerships with co-ops.
“It’s been very effective,” Macnab said. “Neighbors talking to neighbors, neighbors coming together with neighbors to learn about this exciting new, clean energy that can cut people’s utility bills by hundreds and thousands of dollars.”
Homeowners and businesses are taking advantage of some of the lowest prices in solar through programs like the Solar United Neighbors of Florida. Plus, she said restrictions around solar use are slowly starting to relax as utility companies continue to show interest in harnessing energy from the sun.
Macnab said cities across the state are now funding and hiring Solar United Neighbors of Florida coordinators to help organize community cooperatives to further lower the cost of solar installations for residents.
“There is huge interest in this state, and we’re having trouble keeping up with the request to do co-ops,” she said. “That’s how thrilling and exciting and strong the momentum is.”
Co-ops have launched in Alachua, Brevard, Sarasota, Seminole, Volusia and other areas. However, despite these gains, Florida is one of 13 states that still does not have a voluntary or mandated renewable energy standard requiring utilities to get a percentage of their power from renewable sources.