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A glimmer of hope, however, comes from solar fuels. For the first time, scientists and engineers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich have reported a successful demonstration of an integrated fuel-production plant for solar kerosene. Using concentrated solar energy, they were able to produce kerosene from water vapor and carbon dioxide directly from air. Fuel thus produced is a drop-in alternative to fossil-derived fuels and can be used with existing storage and distribution infrastructures, and engines.
The economy-wide modeling scenario that emerged with the best balance of natural area and working lands conservation with energy deployment, net-zero emissions reductions by 2050, and minimal cost increases is called the High Electrification Scenario. This scenario combines solar, onshore and offshore wind, geothermal, biomass, hydrogen, some existing hydroelectric and nuclear, gas with carbon capture, direct air capture, and battery storage technologies. The High Electrification Scenario would save nearly 50% more natural areas and working lands than pursuing current energy development practices, but cost only 3% more per year. It is also 7% cheaper per year than solely pursuing renewable energy technologies to meet 2050 goals.
More energy from the sun falls on the earth in one hour than is used by everyone in the world in one year. A variety of technologies convert sunlight to usable energy for buildings. The most commonly used solar technologies for homes and businesses are solar photovoltaics for electricity, passive solar design for space heating and cooling, and solar water heating.
Businesses and industry use solar technologies to diversify their energy sources, improve efficiency, and save money. Energy developers and utilities use solar photovoltaic and concentrating solar power technologies to produce electricity on a massive scale to power cities and small towns.
The road to solar power is paved one panel at a time. Return to this page to watch for the announcement of the next Orange County co-op opportunity, offering all residents cost savings to install solar energy systems on their homes. Visit for more information.
Orange County is a top-ranked county in Florida for installed solar on the grid in 2020. In 2018, Orange County was the first county in Florida to earn the national SolSmart GOLD designation from the U.S. Department of Energy for advancing solar growth in the community by making it easier for homes and businesses to install solar energy through streamlined permitting, technical training for staff, contractor training, and community wide education. Solar permits are typically approved within 24 hours.
A solar co-op is a group of neighbors who get together to use buying power and obtain solar energy systems for their homes at a discounted price (ranging from 15 to 33 percent). Each participant signs their individual contract with the installer, but everyone gets the discount. The co-op group uses a competitive bidding process to select a company that will install systems on all of the participating homes. Ultimately, residents save money, educate themselves about the process and share knowledge.
While a homeowner cannot be prevented from installing a solar energy system, certain restrictions may be imposed by the HOA without violating Florida Statutes. However, those restrictions must be reasonable, not arbitrary, and uniformly imposed on homeowners in a subdivision. The restrictions cannot act to impair the performance of a solar system or it may be seen as "effectively" prohibiting solar.
Florida Statutes section 163.04 forbids ordinances, deed restrictions, covenants, or similar binding agreements from prohibiting solar equipment use. Pursuant to the statute, a homeowner may not be denied by "any entity granted the power or right in any deed restriction, covenant or similar binding agreement to approve, forbid, control, or direct alteration of property..." permission