Want to go solar?

Solar energy is gaining popularity. It allows you to power your life with the sun and can save you money in the long-run. Of course, there are environmental benefits, too.

But it’s an expensive investment to equip your home or business with solar panels.

A new initiative in Sarasota can help.

A solar co-op has been created, sponsored by the Florida House Institute, League of Women Voters Sarasota, Sarasota Classified Teachers Association, Sierra Club, Unitarian Universalist Church of Sarasota and FL SUN.

The idea of the co-op is to make going solar easier and cheaper. It was announced Wednesday at a news conference.

“We’re forming this co-op to make saving money with solar energy as simple as possible,” said John Lambie, executive director of the Florida House Institute. “Worked with the group helps members learn about the technology so they feel confident in their decision to go solar.”

Joining the co-op doesn’t mean you’re signing your life away and promising to purchase panels. It’s a way to learn more about solar energy and provides community support for solar – locally and in state policies.

As the co-op grows, FL SUN plans to get bids from solar installers. A single company will be selected to complete all of the installations for the co-op, allowing individuals to buy panels at a discounted group rate. That could cut the costs of installation by as much as 20 percent.

“I am excited to work with Sarasota residents to educate them about the benefits of solar energy,” said Angela DeMonbreun, co-op manager for FL SUN. “If you’ve ever thought about going solar before, this is the perfect opportunity to do so.”

Two information sessions are planned:

  • 12:30 p.m. on Jan. 18 at Venice Community Center, 326 Nokomis Ave. S., Venice, FL 34285
  • 5 p.m. on Jan. 19 at Selby Library, 1331 First St., Sarasota, FL 34236

For more information, go to www.flsun.org/sarasota.

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