Moving Solar Energy Forward in Florida

By Kathy Panko

Scroll to the bottom for videos of Deirdre’s presentation.

Deirdre Macnab, former President, League of Women Voters of Florida, and currently a member of Florida’s Federal Judicial Nominating Commission, spoke at the Palm Beach County Hot Topics Luncheon on May 17, 2017.  Hot Topic:  Solar for Florida!

Deirdre reported that Florida has fallen behind in solar home installations for two reasons:  Knowledge and Price.  But with citizen support and the passage of Amendment 4, tax breaks are now provided to solar homeowners. You should be aware of Florida’s laws:

  • Everyone/anyone can put solar on their roof.  HOA’s cannot prevent!
  • Utilities must offer NET METERING – they buy back unused power.
  • Residential solar installation costs are EXEMPT from both property and sales tax.

Deirdre explained that Florida Solar United Neighborhoods (FLSUN) is a non-profit that educates Floridians about the benefits of solar energy and helps organize group solar installations – solar cooperatives.  FLSUN makes solar easy, understandable and affordable by holding public information sessions. Here is how the FLSUN Solar Cooperative works:

  • Solar in Florida articleHomeowners form a buyers’ cooperative
  • The co-op bundles the group’s buying power
  • Members use free-market approach in competitive bidding process to select installer and secure significant discounts for rooftop solar system because of bulk purchasing and coordinated scheduling
  • Each homeowner contracts individually with installer
  • No obligation or commitment by homeowner to sign the contract unless homeowner wishes to proceed

Deirdre stated that solar co-ops result in lower utility bills, saving money for the consumer, and increased property value. [2015 DOE Study, “Selling into the Sun]

Diane Marks, LWVPBC, is leading the Palm Beach County Co-op.  Deirdre urged the audience to volunteer in assisting Diane in this endeavor.  Volunteers are needed for a variety of tasks, especially to reach out to groups within the community.  The groundwork will be accomplished this summer and the first co-op meeting will be held in October.

 

Volunteer by contacting Diane at 702-1451 or e-mail at dimarks@gate.net.

A little fun during introductions:

Main Presentation:

Volunteer by contacting Diane at 702-1451 or e-mail at dimarks@gate.net.