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.


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Published: With water all around us here on the Gulf Coast, basic water-safety skills are vital. This summer, nearly 4,000 children in Sarasota and Charlotte counties have the knowledge and ability to remain safe near water thanks to swimming lessons funded through philanthropy.

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Published: Twenty-four emerging community leaders from across the region graduated last week from the 2019 Gulf Coast Leadership Institute. The group made up the 14th class to complete Gulf Coast Community Foundation’s long-running leadership-development initiative.