Help Florida Schools Access Solar Savings
Solar is a solution that can help Florida’s budget-strapped schools save on burdensome energy costs while providing STEM education and job training opportunities. However, Florida law currently severely limits schools’ access to these benefits.
The “Sunshine State” Lags Behind on Solar
In our recent national report on solar schools, Florida only ranked 24th in the country for solar installed on schools. Most of the solar installed at statewide schools are small, grant-funded demonstration systems that do not make a dent in the schools’ electric bills.
The top states for solar on schools have a crucial state policy that allows schools to go solar using third-party power purchase agreements (PPAs), which generally remove upfront costs and provide them immediate energy cost savings. Our research shows that 79% of the solar capacity installed on nationwide K-12 schools was funded and owned by a third-party. However, Florida law currently doesn’t allow this game-changing financing option.
Florida schools deserve the opportunity that is available in 28 other states to go solar affordably and save taxpayer dollars, create real-world learning opportunities, and create resilient buildings.
Speak Up for A Brighter Future in Florida
The Florida legislature is now considering bills that would authorize the use of PPAs and unlock the potential of the “Sunshine State.”
If you represent a school, municipality, company, or organization, you can show your support by signing this letter of support on behalf of your organization.
If you are a Florida resident, use the form below to email your legislators and ask them to support solar for schools. Lawmakers want to hear your story so personalizing your message before you send it goes a long way.
Be a Spark for Solar at Your School
Step up and be a champion for solar at your schools. We provide a wealth of resources to help you get started right in your own community in Florida.
Use our Solar Schools Campaign Toolkit below as a step-by-step guide for advocating for solar at your school/district. Or, if you are already have buy-in for solar, you can use our How-to Guide to learn about the steps of the solar development process, including an introduction to solar financing for schools.
Case Study: Osceola County School District
Osceola County School District is already a clean energy leader that boasts the first net-zero energy K-12 school in the state. The district anticipates savings of $3.2 million dollars over 20 years from their investment into a new high-performance building with 650 solar panels at NeoCity Academy. However, in order for the school district to be able to benefit from solar savings at the rest of its 60 schools, the district needs options to afford future solar projects.
Power purchase agreements would enable the district to expand to the rest of its schools without having to pay upfront for the solar panels. According to the University of Central Florida report, power purchase agreements would enable the district to install over 2 MW of solar energy on its school buildings and save $90,000 per year in electricity costs. Installing these solar projects at the district would create 27 construction jobs and over $4 million in local economic investment.
Learn More about Solar Schools In Florida
Webinars and Videos
- Webinar: Powering Florida Schools with Solar: Expanding Access to Savings, STEM Education, and Job Training (1 hour)— Learn how districts in other states are using PPAs to go solar and realize millions in savings, and how Florida schools could also see these benefits.
- Webinar: Powering Florida Cities and Counties with Solar: Expanding Savings, Jobs, and Economic Investment (1 hour)— Find out how other states used solar PPAs to capitalize on the cost savings and enhance resilience.
- Video: Support Solar Schools in Florida (24 sec)— Learn how PPAs can help generate money to educate Florida students.
Resources and Reports
- Report: Impact Analysis of Power Purchase Agreements in Florida (21 pg)— Analysis of the statewide economic and environmental benefits of legalizing Power Purchase Agreements with case studies showing how PPAs can help municipalities, schools, and nonprofits.
- Report Summary: Impact Analysis of Power Purchase Agreements in Florida (1 pg) — Overview of key findings of the report
- Resource: Why Florida Schools Need Solar Power Purchase Agreements (1 pg)
- Report: Brighter Future: A Study on Solar in US Schools (48 pg) — A report by Generation 180 looking at solar schools across the US ,including national stats, case studies, reasons that schools go solar, and more. Report notes that 79% of solar at schools is financed through PPAs or similar instruments where a third-party funds and owns the solar system.
Media Coverage on PPAs in Florida
- 3/17/21: WMFE 90.7, Osceola Schools Joins 60 Groups Statewide in Calling for More Solar Power
- 3/12/21: Solar Builder Magazine, Two bills in Florida would legalize power purchase agreements for schools (finally)
- 3/11/21: Press Conference on Florida Solar Access with Senator Lori Berman, Representative Omari Hardy, Generation180, Solar United Neighbors, and University of Central Florida
- 2/18/21: Orlando Sentinel, Installing solar panels at schools would make dollars, sense an op-ed by Michele Drucker, Miami-Dade County Public Schools PTA
- 12/16/20: Spectrum News 13, Bill would allow Florida schools to net meter solar
- 12/1/20: Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Florida move to solar power a no-brainer, Letter to the Editor by Andy Tugendhat., Sarasota resident
- 11/5/20: Capital Soup, New Study: No-cost policy could support 25,000+ Florida jobs; $4 billion in investment