A crash course in changing the world.
During my time spent reporting for WUFT News last semester, I met the amazing team at Alachua County Growth Management Department who's working to lower costs for Alachua County residents to install solar panels. While many people would assume that the major cost involved with using solar panels is the actual installation, Alachua County Growth Management Department planner Holly Banner realized that many people are deterred from installing panels because of the costly and confusing permit application process. She said the "soft costs" such as permitting costs have remained high over the years while the actual panel costs have fallen steadily. To combat this issue, the Alachua County Growth Management Department obtained a $290,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to build a user-friendly permitting system on the county website. With an easily-to-navigate process in place, Banner anticipates a rise in solar panel instillations across the county.