Bills enabling schools to embrace solar not likely to advance

Brilliant Harvest's workers installing solar panels at Hinck Private Wealth Management in Englewood in this archive photo from 2015.    (Herald-Tribune archive/ 2015)

State lawmakers are considering legislation this spring that would make it much easier for school districts to utilize solar energy, although advocates for alternative energy are likely to be disappointed by the outcome. 

Two bills, filed by Sen. Lori Berman, D-Boynton Beach, and Rep. Omari Hardy, D-Lake Worth Beach, would allow school districts to negotiate “Power Purchase Agreements” with renewable energy providers. Under such an agreement, the energy provider covers the initial costs of installation and agrees to sell the customer the energy.

Berman and Hardy have also filed separate bills that would remove the cost of solar energy systems from the “cost per student station,” a controversial formula that caps how much school districts can spend when building a new school.

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