FL SUN welcomes Heaven Campbell to team

The FL SUN team is growing. We are excited to announce the addition of Heaven Campbell. Heaven will serve as a Program Associate to assist in capacity-building, community outreach, and general program support. In this role, she will help FL SUN ensure the growth and success of the statewide solar co-ops.

Heaven is a native Floridian with a passion for and experience in program management, volunteer management, research, diversity, and inclusion and evaluation. Her experience includes large-scale grant management, training, capacity-building and program management.

“I am excited to join FL SUN and help more Floridians go solar while strengthening support for solar.” Campbell said. “I look forward to working with closely with our community to educate them about solar.”

Seminole County Solar Co-op selects Superior Solar to serve group

The Seminole County Solar Co-op has selected Superior Solar to install solar panels for the 88-member group. Co-op members selected Superior Solar through a competitive bidding process over eight other firms. The co-op will be holding a public information session July 22 (details below) to educate attendees about solar and the co-op process.

Co-op members selected Superior Solar for its competitive pricing, quality components, variety of system offerings, and years of local experience.

The co-op is open to new members until August 25. Seminole County residents interested in joining the co-op can sign up at the co-op web page. Joining the co-op is not a commitment to purchase panels. Superior Solar will provide each co-op member with an individualized proposal based on the group rate. By going solar as a group and choosing a single installer, participants can save up to 20% off the cost of their system.

Information session details

July 22
12 p.m. – 1 p.m.
Seminole County Main Library
215 Oxford Road
Casselberry, FL 32707

Click here to RSVP

Miami solar co-ops select installers

FL SUN has organized more than 100 area residents to go solar together through the Central Miami (North) and the Central Miami (South) co-ops. The group of Central Miami (North) homeowners selected Cutler Bay Solar Solutions and the group of Central Miami (South) homeowners selected Guardian Solar through competitive bidding processes to install systems for the co-ops’ members. Organized with the help of The League of Women Voters Miami-Dade and many local partners, such as The Green Corridor, Tropical Audubon Society, Rise Up Florida, CLEO Institute, Citizens Climate Lobby and Miami-Dade College, the collaboration is enabling participating homeowners to install solar panels on their homes at discounted rates.

The selected installers will develop individualized proposals for co-op participants. Co-op members will review their proposal and sign a contract with their selected installer if they decide to go solar.

Both the Central Miami (North) and Central Miami (South) Solar Co-ops will be open and available to new participants through August 25. All single-family home residents within these areas are eligible to participate. Visit www.flsun.org/central-miami-north and http://www.flsun.org/central-miami-south to learn more about solar and to sign up to join the group. Joining the co-op is not a commitment to purchase panels.

FP&L adds another layer to the interconnection process

Navigating the process with your installer and your utility to connect your solar system to the electric grid can be challenging. This is called ‘interconnection’. It is the final, and sometimes the longest and most confusing step before you can start saving money with solar energy. Interconnection is the process by which your solar system is allowed to send electricity back through your electric meter and out to your neighbors. To add another layer of complexity to the process, FP&L is now requiring homeowners to get pre-approval for a new meter prior to the installation of their solar electric system.

Prospective solar homeowners will now need to log into their FP&L account to start the application for pre-approval. Homeowners should choose the tier size relevant to their system and enter the system size from the proposal they receive from the installer. Solar customers will then need to forward their approval email to their installer.

Previously, this approval process could be handled entirely by installers. FP&L territory extends along the Atlantic Coast from south of Jacksonville all the way down through Miami and on the Gulf Coast from Sarasota down to Naples. It includes a few communities further inland as well. See a map here.

How solar takes the heat off

Reducing the amount of electricity you need to buy from your utility isn’t the only way going solar helps you save money. Installing panels on your roof may also reduce your energy demand. This is because rooftop solar can help regulate your roof’s temperature. A study from the University of California San Diego found that solar panel installations can reduce roof heat by as much as five degrees.

Solar panels are typically attached to your roof using a racking system. Most rooftop systems are installed so that there is a gap between the roof and the panel. This separation allows for air to flow under the panels and sweep away some of the heat. Solar panels also absorb heat that would otherwise be absorbed by the roof itself. Researchers calculated that solar’s temperature reduction amounts to an additional five percent return on investment due to lower energy costs due to reduced usage.

What to know if you want to do solar yourself

The growth in the solar market has led to a number of ways for homeowners to go solar. For the technically savvy, there is the option of building a system yourself.

By purchasing components online or wholesale, as well as installing the system yourself, you may be able to save significantly on the cost of a project. These savings can make up for Florida’s lack of state incentives and weak market for Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs).

DIYing a solar system can also be a chance to learn more about how the technology works and experiment with a new design. There are hundreds of DIY solar project options, ranging from putting together a simple DIY solar charger to installing a complete system, or even building a solar panel from scratch.

Despite these benefits of doing solar yourself, constructing a full complex system is not for the inexperienced or unlicensed. Solar installers go through months of training and oversight before they are certified to install panels. In addition to understanding how to properly install a system, this training provides them with the necessary understanding of proper safety procedures to follow.

Interested in learning more about doing solar yourself and getting advice from experienced solar enthusiasts? Join the FL SUN listserv to connect with solar supporters from around the state.

Alachua County Solar Co-op selects installer, announces information sessions

The Alachua County Solar Co-op has selected Power Production Management to install solar panels for the 87-member group. Co-op members selected Power Production Management through a competitive bidding process over a dozen other firms. The group will be holding several information sessions (details below) to educate the public about solar and recruit additional members.

The co-op is open to new members until July 28. Alachua County residents interested in joining the co-op can sign up at the co-op website.

Joining the co-op is not a commitment to purchase panels. Power Production Management will provide each co-op member with an individualized proposal based on the group rate. By going solar as a group and choosing a single installer, participants can save up to 20% off the cost of their system.

July 11, 6 p.m.
Bob Graham Center
220 Pugh Hall
Gainesville, FL 32611

Click here to RSVP

July 19, 6:45 p.m.
Millhopper Library Branch
3145 NW 43rd Street
Gainesville, FL 32606

Click here to RSVP

Seminole County Solar Co-op issues RFP, announces information session

The 69-member Seminole County solar co-op today issued a request for proposals (RFP) from area solar installers. The group members created the co-op to save money and make going solar easier, while building a network of solar supporters.

The League of Women Voters, Sierra Club, Seminole Audubon Society, Citizens’ Climate Lobby, Seminole Soil & Water Conservation District, and FL SUN are the co-op sponsors. The group also announced it will host an information meeting on July 22, at 1 p.m., in the Seminole County Main Library to educate the community about solar and the co-op process.

Local installers interested in serving the group can click to download the RFP and response template.

Seminole County residents interested in joining the co-op can sign up at the co-op web page. Joining the co-op is not a commitment to purchase panels. Co-op members will select a single company to complete all of the installations. They will then have the option to purchase panels individually based on the installer’s group rate. By going solar as a group and choosing a single installer, participants can save up to 20% off the cost of their system.

Central Miami (North) and Central Miami (South) Solar Co-ops release RFPs, Announce Info Session

The 25-member Central Miami (North) solar co-op and the 31-member Central Miami (South) solar co-op today issued requests for proposals (RFP) from area solar installers. The group members created the co-ops to save money and make going solar easier, while building a network of solar supporters. The groups also announced they will host an information meeting on June 6, at 7 p.m. in the Key Biscayne Community Center to educate the community about solar and the co-op process.

Local installers interested in serving the group can click to download the Central Miami (North) RFP, the Central Miami (South) RFP and response template.

Residents of Key Biscayne, Coral Gables, City of Miami west to the Palmetto interested in joining the co-op can sign up at the Central Miami (North) co-op webpage. Residents of Pinecrest, South Miami and unincorporated neighborhoods west to West Kendall interested in joining the co-op sign up at the Central Miami (South) co-op webpage.

Joining the co-op is not a commitment to purchase panels. Co-op members will select a single company to complete all of the installations. They will then have the option to purchase panels individually based on the installer’s group rate. By going solar as a group and choosing a single installer, participants can save up to 20% off the cost of their system.

U.S. Green Building Council partnering with FL SUN

FL SUN is excited to announce our statewide partnership with the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) Florida Chapter.

The USGBC’s diverse Florida membership serves as a dedicated community of professionals, advocates, and industries. It’s membership plays a leading role in creating jobs, improving education, and workforce development; advancing private and public sector initiatives that champion efficiency in energy, water and beyond; and catalyzing market forces for better building practices.

“On behalf of our Chapter’s volunteer leadership, we are honored to be more officially associated with Florida Solar United Neighborhoods (FL SUN), and look forward to partnering on various issues to further the general goals and mutual purposes of our respective organizations,” said Lee Cooke, Executive Director, of USGBC Florida Chapter.

FL SUN and the USGBC agree to open dialogue where specific expertise and marketing opportunities might be agreed upon to help each organization, as well as the marketplace, embrace best practices in green construction and sustainable operations and initiatives, including joint meetings to plan and implement various educational, resource development, policy advocacy, and other elements of each others’ programs.