The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded the Go SOLAR – Florida team a $1.6 million SunShot Initiative Rooftop Solar Challenge II competitive award to make it easier for Floridians to obtain grid-tied solar installations. Go SOLAR Florida is one of 8 recipients of a Rooftop Solar Challenge II award nationwide. The purpose of the award is to increase the use of and access to solar energy among the state’s residents and businesses by reducing market barriers, lowering non-hardware related installation costs and providing access to financing options over the next two and a half years.
The Go-SOLAR – Florida team is a partnership of Florida counties, cities, the Florida Solar Energy Center and Florida Atlantic University representing approximately 4 million Floridians. Six Florida counties are participating (Alachua, Broward, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Orange and St. Lucie), along with nine Broward County municipalities (Cooper City, Hollywood, Lauderdale Lakes, Lauderhill, Lighthouse Point, Margate, Pembroke Pines, Plantation and Wilton Manors) and the City of Venice in Sarasota County.
The Rooftop Solar Challenge II program empowers teams to undertake initiatives that make it easier and more affordable for Americans to go solar, reducing “plug-in” costs by streamlining permit processes, updating planning and zoning codes, improving standards for connecting solar power to the electric grid, and increasing access to financing.
The Go SOLAR – Florida team will use the funding to:
Improve the solar permitting process,
Promote solar financing options statewide,
Market solar photovoltaics and solar rights,
Demonstrate the importance of clean energy development and related jobs,
Model the benefits of intergovernmental cooperation, and
Collaborate on a state-wide standard for connecting solar systems to the grid.
Together, the Go SOLAR Florida team will develop policies and procedures to standardize online permitting and remove planning and zoning barriers within each participating county, and work with the Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC) to provide a single, uniform source of structural and electrical design plans for all Go SOLAR–Florida partners. Separate committees, made up of key stakeholders from across the state, will work to achieve statewide consistency in regulatory standards and overcome financial, political, and bureaucratic hurdles that hinder the development of the solar market in Florida.
The objectives of the Go SOLAR–Florida Project, for all seven partner counties, are to:
- Develop and market a consortium of early adopter, solar friendly counties within Florida focused on simplifying the solar permitting process and increasing solar installations, working toward a critical mass of solar activity that stimulates the remainder of the State toward more aggressive and comprehensive support of solar development.
- Lower the soft-costs associated with grid-tied photovoltaics by standardizing the permitting process across participating jurisdictions in seven Florida counties. The goal is to reduce typical permitting times by 95%. The primary standardization will be the creation of permitting systems that use electronic delivery of pre-approved design plans within the permit process, eliminating this expense for the customer. Also included will be the creation of a long term sustainable process by transferring electronic design plan maintenance and approval to FSEC.
- Standardize solar related zoning regulations.
- Enhance the availability of financing options.
- Expand uniform net metering and interconnection standards.
- Aggressively market solar energy and solar installations across this same target area.
Go SOLAR Florida Team Poster (PDF-938Kb)
The U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative is a collaborative national effort that aggressively drives innovation to make solar energy fully cost-competitive with traditional energy sources before the end of the decade. Through SunShot, DOE supports efforts by private companies, academia, and national laboratories to drive down the cost of solar electricity to $0.06 per kilowatt-hour. Learn more at www.energy.gov/sunshot.
For more information on the Go SOLAR – Florida initiative call 954-519-1260 or email firstname.lastname@example.org