Orange County holds solar power co-op meeting

- Looking to lower your energy bills? Orange County hosted the first of two solar co-op meetings Monday, where people can get a solar discount.

Florida is the “Sunshine State,” and solar power users like Michael Cohen say it's a natural way to power his home. “I'm net-zero,” Cohen said, “meaning I don't have an electric bill over the course of twelve months.”

Today, there was a chance for more east Orange County residents to get in on discounts for getting solar panels. The county hosted a solar co-op event, where they say homeowners like Rachel Deming and local small businesses can collectively buy solar panels at a bulk-rate discount of more than 30%.

“In looking at this I had to do some analysis,” Deming said, “but a lot of it, it's just the right thing to do.”

Panels are pricey though -- the cost for the average home runs between $9,000 and $27,000. But the county says systems like the one on Cohen’s house will pay for themselves within seven years.

On sunny days, Cohen's power meter actually runs backwards and he ends up getting a credit from the power company for the energy he feeds into the grid. Orange County backs two of these co-ops, and there's no cost to be a member.

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