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The Florida Senate

Senator Berman, District 26 — Press Release


December 19, 2019

CONTACT: Daniel Delagrange, 561-292-6014


Average school could save $16,000 annually in electricity expenses

Tallahassee —

Today, Senator Lori Berman (D-Delray Beach) filed SB 1290, to deliver financial relief to Florida’s schools and taxpayers by harnessing the power of the sun.

“The traditional way of providing electricity to power our public schools is not only expensive, but antiquated,” said Senator Berman. “Switching to solar would mean not only a low-cost, pollution free and reliable system of sustainable energy, but savings of tens of millions of public dollars annually that could be plowed back into our schools as investments for the future.”

If schools in Florida installed a 100 kilowatt system, they could save an average of $16,000 per year and offset over 10 percent of their energy demand, according to estimates by Vote Solar, a national solar advocacy non-profit. If every public school participated, those savings would add up to over $70 million per year.

The bill proposes three common-sense solutions to address current roadblocks preventing the switch to cost-saving solar:

  • It allows schools to enter into financing agreements to purchase solar power from an on-site solar system owned by a solar company at a predictable fixed price that lowers their energy costs.
  • It allows school districts to aggregate multiple electric meters across a single county for purposes of net metering, enabling the sharing of solar credits from a single solar system.
  • It clarifies that schools’ clean energy investments do not count against per pupil construction spending caps under Florida law.

Today, only 3.1% of Florida’s K-12 schools have rooftop solar, even though their traditionally large, flat roofs make solar a natural fit, and the cost of solar has declined 70 percent in the past decade.

"Installing solar helps people and communities save money and take control of where their electricity comes from," said Angela DeMonbreun, Solar United Neighbors Florida Program Director, who is backing the innovative legislation. "This bill will give schools the flexibility they need to adopt solar for their buildings, allowing them to spend less on energy and more on educating our children.”