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FL SUN EXPLAINED

SUMMARY  
The ultimate goal of FL SUN (Florida Solar United Neighborhoods) is to see Florida realize its solar capacity potential for being #3 in the nation.  FL SUN was initiated through a partnership between the League of Women Voters of Florida and the Community Power Network, a 501(c)(3) located in Washington D.C.  As a non-profit organization, FL SUN seeks to help communities learn about and affordably participate in solar by using group purchasing power.   

HOW DO THE CO-OPS WORK?
Based on the same principle as buying in bulk, co-op members purchase solar systems together to save money and share knowledge.  Once the co-op kicks off several information sessions are organized for citizens to learn about solar and ask questions.  The group uses a competitive bidding process to select a single company that will install systems on all of the participating homes.  Each participant signs his or her own contract with the installer, but everyone gets the bulk discount.  By going solar as a group, the price of a solar system can be reduced up to 20%.  Participants also have the support of the group, and professional staff, instead of navigating an often-complicated process alone. 

SPACECOAST TIMELINE

August 24, 2016 

Introduction & Information Session 

Early September 2016

Meeting with local municipalities 

October 17, 2016 

Kick-off press conference and local supporters announced opening of FL SUN Co-op 

November 2016 through February 28, 2017

Two information sessions: January 28: Lagoon House, Palm Bay and February 25: Rockledge Gardens, Rockledge

December 2016

Co-op members evaluated 12 proposals and selected the one they preferred

January 2017

Installations begin 


The co-op has over 130 members to-date. It will be open to new members until February 28, 2017.  An interested individual can register at http://www.flsun.org/spacecoast/.  In early December, members of the co-op selected Brevard Solar, headquartered in Titusville, from among 12 applicants based on price, quality, and experience.  The quoted prices are such that, with the 30% federal income tax rebate, it is pssible that members with good roof exposure could install a system at a cost (if not financed) that can be recovered in as little as 8 years.  It is also possible that the recurring cost of financning over a 10- or 15- year period could be less than the cost savings on electric bills.  The return on investment is one of the items the installer will identify after working with a member to identify the system they desier.

Installations will be completed in early Spring.  As have been the case with previous co-ops, when neighbors see solar panels being installed they often become more interested.  It is possible another co-op will be organized a year or so after this first one closes.

EXPERIENCE TO-DATE
Solar co-ops are not new.  In fact, hundreds have been created all over the United States in the last decade as solar has become increasingly affordable.  Community Power Network has organized numerous co-ops over the last 10 years in Washington, D.C., Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Ohio, and Florida. 

Co-ops have already been organized in Florida serving over 1,000 members.  Orange County is on its third co-op.  Co-ops have also recently formed in St. Petersburg and Sarasota.  Others are in their development stage.

FUNDING
Numerous funding mechanisms are in place.  Brevard Solar identifies five lending institutions they consider reputable.  PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) financing is a funding source that may assist with adoption of solar by those with limited financial resources.  These are voluntary, community-based finance programs for energy efficiency, renewable energy, and wind resistant improvements (in Florida this includes a new roof).  Satellite Beach has taken the actions necessary for all four PACE funding organizations to provide their services in the City.  Information on PACE funding is available at: http://www.satellitebeach.org/residents_visitors/solar/pace.php

PROGRAM SUSTAINABILITY 
The first year of FL SUN's program administration is funded through Foundation Grants.  Future funding will be supported through municipal support, additional foundation funding, and by fees generated from contracting installers at $600 per installation.  There is no cost to participating local governments.

MORE INFORMATION
For more information on the local FL SUN initiative, visit http://www.flsun.org/spacecoast/.  Sign up there to be notified of Space Coast FL SUN developments.

                                                           FL SUN