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Solar co-op established for Sarasota, Charlotte counties

The co-op provides members a group rate, increasing the amount of money saved relying on solar power.

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  • | 4:45 p.m. July 27, 2023
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A new solar co-op has been established for Sarasota and Charlotte counties.
A new solar co-op has been established for Sarasota and Charlotte counties.
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  • Manatee-Sarasota
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A new solar co-op to promote solar energy as a cost-savings solution to rising energy costs has been launched in Sarasota and Charlotte counties. 

Solar United Neighbors, a nonprofit in Florida that set up solar co-ops with the goal of creating a new energy system, will host a Florida Solar 101 webinar at 6 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 17. Visit to register. 

“There’s never been a better time to go solar,” Julia Herbst, Solar United Neighbors Gulf Coast program associate, says in a release. “Rising energy costs and new incentives from the Inflation Reduction Act mean solar savings are within reach for more Southwest Florida families.”

Sarasota County Sustainability Outreach Coordinator Alia Garrett says the launch is a win for the county and community. 

“Clean energy initiatives play a critical role in achieving our sustainability goals overall and helping families save money on their utility bills,” Garrett says in the release.  

But solar power is also said to be helpful during storms when normal power outages are common. If paired with batteries, the press release states that lights and air conditioners will remain on even if the power goes out.

“The solar co-op saved us thousands of dollars on our solar panels and that allowed us to use those savings to add battery storage to our system,” Florida Veterans for Common Sense member Jack Merriam says in the release. “During Hurricane Ian last year, our neighborhood lost grid power for five days. Our solar panels and storage battery kept our family of four comfortable, silently, without the noise and fumes of a generator.”

Joining the co-op, which is funded by Venice-based Gulf Coast Community Foundation, doesn’t mean members are obligated to purchase solar. But they will have the option to purchase panels and battery storage according to a solar company installer’s group rate.


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