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Orange Co. connecting Apopka residents and business owners with another affordable solar option

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Together, Orange County Solar co-op members will leverage their numbers to ensure each member receives competitive pricing and a quality solar installation

From the Orange County Newsroom

Orange County is excited to announce an additional opportunity to help residents “go solar” by joining with the City of Orlando and Solar United Neighbors to provide another Solar Co-op.

The nonprofit group Solar United Neighbors announced the launch of the 2021 Orange County Solar Co-op on Earth Day, April 22. The co-op is free to join and open to all homeowners and business owners in the County. Together, co-op members will learn about solar energy and leverage their numbers to ensure each member receives competitive pricing and a quality solar installation.

The co-op will be the 8th such project held in Orange County, resulting in more than 355 installations on homes and small businesses. In addition to providing support and savings for residents to go solar, the co-ops have also stimulated over $8.3 million in local economic activity.

“It is my vision to build a community of the future that includes clean, reliable energy that is accessible,” said Orange County Mayor Jerry L. Demings. “We continue to help bring solar co-ops to our community, and help residents power their homes with the sun plus learn about solar energy.”

Mayor Demings pointed out that in partnership with the Orlando Utilities Commission and Duke Energy, renewable energy projects are thriving in Central Florida. In fact, our community was recognized as a top-ranked county for installed solar on the grid in 2020. Increasing solar energy and storage in our region’s energy portfolio is a critical step along the difficult, but necessary path to achieve 100 % clean and renewable energy.

Joining a co-op does not obligate members to purchase panels. The exact price of a Photovoltaic (PV) system is dependent on homeowners’ preference in system size and their home’s energy consumption. Homeowners have the option to install the size PV system that fits their budget.

After a competitive bidding process facilitated by Solar United Neighbors, co-op members will select a single solar company to complete the installations. Joining the co-op does not obligate members to purchase solar. Instead, members will have the option to individually purchase panels and electric vehicle chargers based on the installer’s group rate.

Solar United Neighbors will host several free information sessions to educate community members about solar energy and the co-op. Individuals interested in going solar can sign up for the co-op or one of the upcoming information sessions at the co-op web page.

A free informational webinar is planned for Wednesday, June 16, 6:00 p.m.

Learn more, register for a webinar, and join the solar co-op at solarunitedneighbors.org/orange

City of Apopka

In addition to this new Orange County co-op opportunity, City of Apopka homeowners, businesses and industries that are interested in solar panels, hurricane windows and other energy saving upgrades have another financing option through the Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program.

PACE allows property owners to receive upfront financing for a variety of energy-related home improvements, then repay the debt through voluntary assessments on their property tax bills. Approved third-party administrators will provide funding, and the assessment can be amortized over a period of five to up to 20 years, which allows for the cost savings resulting from the improvements to be used to pay back the annual amount owed.

PACE-funded improvements must be properly permitted and installed by licensed contractors, and they must meet applicable federal, state, and local energy, wind and building code standards. Building permits are still required where applicable.

Although the City has to authorize PACE programs to operate in the incorporated portion of Apopka, the City does not administer or operate the programs in any way. All contractual PACE agreements are between property owners and the PACE district or provider, a non-City entity.

To foster competition and protect consumers, the City of Apopka has included compliance requirements in its agreements with each PACE provider such as provisions for clear communication with customers, disclosure of all fees and risks associated with participating in the program.

To request a copy of a data report from one of the approved PACE providers, please contact any of the providers listed on the city's PACE Program page.

Orange County Government strives to serve its residents and guests with integrity, honesty, fairness and professionalism. Located in Central Florida, Orange County includes 13 municipalities and is home to world-famous theme parks, one of the nation’s largest convention centers and a thriving life science research park. Seven elected members make up the Board of County Commissioners, including the Mayor, who is elected countywide. For more information, please visit www.OCFL.net or go to Orange County Government’s social media channels.

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