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  1. Opinion

Editorial: Another smart solar co-op in Hillsborough

For many homeowners considering solar, the big question is: Where to start? This week, Hillsborough County launched its third solar co-op, a broad effort to educate homeowners and connect them with more affordable options for utilizing renewable energy.

With solar becoming cheaper and more efficient, more Floridians want to install solar panels on their roofs. Across the state, communities have launched co-ops to take advantage of even greater savings through bulk purchasing. The co--ops brings homeowners together to answer the basics - how solar works, the installation and financing. Co-ops choose an installer through a competitive bidding process, and benefit from the group's collective purchasing power to get discounted pricing. The co-op launched Thursday was the third in Hillsborough County and the 47th statewide. Any homeowner who resides in Hillsborough is eligible to participate.

The project is a joint effort by the Hillsborough County Environmental Protection Commission, the Sierra Club, Physicians for Social Responsibility and other civic groups. Supporters said the effort has led to more than $1 million in local investment and to an offset of nearly 18 million pounds of carbon. This is a prime example of government and the private sector working together for the good of public health, the environment and the local economy. The county should continue to sponsor this program and expand it in the coming years.