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Osceola Schools Joins 60 Groups Statewide In Calling For More Solar Power

Orlando is among fewer than a dozen local governments across Florida to commit to 100 percent clean energy by 2050. Photo by Amy Green
Orlando is among fewer than a dozen local governments across Florida to commit to 100 percent clean energy by 2050. Photo by Amy Green

The Osceola County school district is among more than 60 districts, religious organizations and other groups calling on the state to make it easier to install solar panels on their properties. 

They want the state to allow a financing mechanism that would help alleviate the up-front cost of installing the solar panels. 

Florida is one of seven states to ban the financing mechanism -- called a PPA or power purchase agreement. 

The agreement involves a third-party energy developer, which sells energy back to the property owner after financing the up-front cost of installing the solar panels. 

PPAs are common in 28 other states, but in Florida state statutes require that anyone selling power must adhere to the same rules as a large public utility. 

The letter from the Osceola County school district and other groups coincides with a bill in the Legislature that would enable schools and municipalities to participate in PPAs. 

The groups point to NeoCity Academy, Florida’s first net-zero energy K-12 school located in Osceola County. They say the school is saving the district some $115,000 a year. 

Amy Green covered the environment for WMFE until 2023. Her work included the 2020 podcast DRAINED.