Broward County staff announced the launch of the 2019 Broward Solar Co-op on March 20th at the Young At Art Museum. The Solar Co-op was open to all residents and small businesses in Broward County, Florida. The co-op saved residents money and made going solar easier, with the help of nonprofit Solar United Neighbors. "Solar co-ops bring technical support and economies of scale through the collective purchase power of our diverse community members. All of our residents deserve the benefits that come with this investment, including dramatic energy savings on a monthly basis," said Dr. Jennifer Jurado, Chief Resilience Officer of Broward County. Broward County supports the Solar Co-op as one of its strategies for reaching its goal of sourcing 20% of its energy from renewables and reducing emissions to mitigate climate change impacts.
Solar United Neighbors helped the group of residents solicit competitive bids from area solar installers. A selection committee comprised of Solar Co-op members selected Cutler Bay Solar Solutions to complete all of the installations. Solar Co-op members purchased panels individually based on the installer's group rate. By going solar as a group and choosing a single installer, participants saved on the cost of going solar and had access to the support of fellow residents and solar experts at Solar United Neighbors.
From April through June 2019, community events and education programs were held to help Broward residents and businesses become informed solar consumers, maximize the value of their solar investment and advocate for fair solar policies. The Solar Co-op closed to new members on August 1, 2019. Broward County staff promoted the event across the community during the 7-month sign-up period. The Solar Co-op was promoted on the local NPR station, at government buildings, library newsletters, and at information kiosks at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.
Community partners included the League of Women Voters of Broward County, The Climate Reality Project, Temple Solel, Friends of TY Park, The CLEO Institute, SACE, Pirani, Citizens Climate Lobby Broward, SELF, The Urban League of Broward, and the Cities of Pompano Beach, Sunrise, Miramar, and Hollywood.