Frustrated by a lack of control over local energy issues, Sarasota County leaders are considering the creation of a government-run solar electric utility that would provide cheaper electricity bills and a free solar hot water heater for everyone.
The county would pay for and own solar water heaters in residents’ homes. The only cost to consumers would be a monthly bill for the solar energy.
That would mean two electric bills for participating homeowners. But the customer would still save money on electricity because Sarasota County would charge less than Florida Power & Light for a home’s hot water.
A citizens’ committee asked by county leaders to develop local solar incentives formally recommended the solar utility idea this week.
The proposal will be considered by the County Commission on April 14. If adopted, the system will put Sarasota County in rare company; only 35 communities in the country have solar hot water incentive programs.
Larry Altman, who headed Sarasota County’s advisory committee, touted the concept of having the county absorb the cost of installing solar water heaters in homes.
“This is a guaranteed savings on your electric bill: no money down, no mainten
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