Orange County, which began organizing solar-power co-operatives about two years ago, recently won recognition from the U.S. Department of Energy for efforts to make solar power more affordable for residents and businesses to install.
The county earned “gold-level” recognition from the Energy Department’s “SolSmart” program, which encourages local governments to expand solar availability and help American homes and businesses use the power of the sun.
It is the first county in the state to win the honor.
SolSmart is a national nonprofit designation and technical assistance program.
Orange County invested in the expansion of residential solar by teaming up with Solar United Neighbors of Florida in the launch of solar co-ops, which allows interested residents the chance to leverage savings in bulk contracts with solar providers.
The county’s first solar co-op in the summer of 2016 had a record-setting 515 participants, and was the state’s largest and most successful endeavor of its kind at that time. Of those households, 79 installed solar through the co-op. [click for full article]