Today, Florida State Senator Lori Berman introduced community solar legislation (SB 1156), which will expand consumer access to affordable clean energy and increase jobs in the state’s new energy economy. Leading solar, environmental and community organizations Vote Solar, Solar United Neighbors, Earthjustice and the League of United Latin American Citizens Florida (LULAC FL) applauded the bill and Senator Berman’s leadership in expanding solar savings, local jobs and community resilience in the Sunshine State.

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“For every homeowner we’ve helped go solar over the past several years through our solar co-op programs, there are many more who are unable to do so because they rent or don’t have a solar-suitable roof,” said Angela DeMonbreun, Solar United Neighbors of Florida program director. “This bill would empower these people, as well as small businesses and non-profits to save money and take control of where their electricity comes from by going solar."

“Lower electric bills, cleaner energy, and a healthier environment, that is the promise of solar energy,” said Luis Torres, Senior Legislative Representative for Earthjustice.   “And now, thanks to community solar legislation introduced by Senator Lori Berman, Florida families are one step closer to accessing these benefits by way of a new community solar program.   With community solar, families of all income levels are able to harness the power of the sun with low and moderate income families set to be big winners under this new bill.”

“As the nation’s oldest and largest Latino civil rights organization, LULAC Florida works to ensure that the interests of Latinos are front and center at the capitol,” said Mari Corugedo, State Director for the Florida chapter of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC FL). “Latinos are particularly impacted by the adverse effects of climate change and moving toward clean renewable energy is key to addressing this issue.  In addition to producing clean and renewable energy, community solar, in particular, has the added benefit of allowing low and moderate income families the ability to access the benefits of solar energy.  We are encouraged by legislation to authorize a new community solar program for the potential it has to serve countless low and moderate income Latino families in our state.”

“Florida is now the nation’s second largest solar job creator, with more than 10,350 Floridians already working to build a brighter, more resilient energy system according to the National Solar Job Census,” said Katie Chiles Ottenweller, Southeast Director for Vote Solar.  “By clearing the way for more participation and investment in local clean energy projects, this community solar bill will create even more good local jobs and economic opportunity in communities across the state.”

Solar has quickly become one of America’s fastest growing and lowest cost energy sources.  However, physical and financial barriers prevent many consumers from going solar on their own rooftops – families who rent, have shaded rooftops, or businesses that lease their space, for example. If passed, SB 1156 would to give more Floridians a way to go solar by participating in a community solar installation located in their community and receiving a credit on their utility bill for their share of the power produced.

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Media contact: rosalind@votesolar.org

About Vote Solar: Since 2002, Vote Solar has been working to lower solar costs and expand solar access. A 501(c)3 non-profit organization, Vote Solar advocates for state policies and programs needed to repower our electric grid with clean energy. Learn more at www.votesolar.org.

About Solar United Neighbors:Solar United Neighbors is the only organization in the country dedicated to representing the needs and interests of solar owners and supporters. We are a 501(c)3 non-profit. We help people go solar, join together, and fight for their energy rights. Learn more at Solarunitedneighbors.org.

About Earthjustice: Earthjustice is the premier nonprofit environmental law organization. We wield the power of law and the strength of partnership to protect people’s health, to preserve magnificent places and wildlife, to advance clean energy, and to combat climate change. We are here because the earth needs a good lawyer.

About LULAC Florida: As the Florida chapter of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), the nation’s oldest and largest Latino civil rights organization in the country, LULAC FL fights for the interests of the Latino community in the state.

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