70% chance of sun, 100% chance of solar growth

On average, there are 251 sunny days per year in Sarasota, which is approximately 70% of the year. As of Earth Day 2019, we should have had roughly 79 wonderful days of sunshine. There’s a reason we’re known as the Sunshine State!

Now, we’re continuing to harness the power of the sun to generate our own power, lower our bills, and make our energy system stronger statewide. In January 2017, local co-sponsors including the Florida House and the League of Women Voters of Sarasota County partnered with a fledgling statewide program called Solar United Neighbors of Florida—FL SUN for short—to launch a solar co-op in Sarasota. The co-op offers homeowners bulk purchasing power to get discounted pricing and quality installation on solar energy systems, as well as expert guidance each step of the way. Gulf Coast Community Foundation and the Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation provided start-up funding for the new co-op. The foundations' investment also provided the leverage for FL SUN to take its vision and model statewide.

Since then, Sarasota’s co-op has remained one of the most successful in the state, and the number of co-ops continues to grow. At this time last year, there was a network of 35 co-ops across Florida. Today, the network has 45 co-ops from Pensacola to Key West, accounting for nearly $27 million invested in solar by homeowners!

“We couldn't be happier with the success of Solar United Neighbors co-ops," said Gulf Coast President | CEO Mark Pritchett. "We are seeing solar installed neighborhood by neighborhood, by contractors of their own choosing. The return on our grant has far exceeded our expectations.”

To learn more about going solar in Sarasota County, go here.


Gulf Coast Community Foundation Awards Over $600,000 in Scholarships

Published: As the fall semester begins at colleges across the country amid the uncertainty of COVID-19, hundreds of local students have at least one thing they can rely on: scholarship funding to help ease the challenges of an unprecedented return to school.

The Smithsonian Comes to Town

Published: Gulf Coast helped bring Voices and Votes: Democracy in America, a Smithsonian Institution traveling, interactive exhibit to the Betty J. Johnson North Sarasota Public Library. This two-month exhibition is truly nonpartisan and tells the history of voting and democracy from our Founding Fathers to the infamous Florida 2000 election to protests you see today. Gulf Coast's President|CEO delves deeper into the exhibits timeliness and importance in his August 15 column in SRQ Daily.

Voices and Votes: Democracy in America

Published: A Smithsonian Institution traveling exhibit on voting in America launches its statewide tour of Florida this week at the Betty J. Johnson North Sarasota Public Library. Voices and Votes: Democracy in America is based on a major exhibition currently on display at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C., and tells the story of America’s democratic form of government.