Is Mount Dora Florida’s Most Solar-Friendly City?


Known for its lake views, fine dining, charming shops, and small town ambiance, Mount Dora is also in the running for the most solar-friendly city in Florida.  Sound hard to believe?  Maybe. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t true. Mount Dora’s quality public servants combine with friendly policy and a community that believes in the benefits of solar, and quickly makes its case for being an extremely solar-friendly, citizen-friendly, Florida-friendly city. Here’s how.

The average permitting time for solar energy projects varies greatly from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, but Mount Dora consistently turns their reviews around in 3-4 days.  While not a guarantee from the City, this pattern of performance has made residential and commercial solar experiences positive and served to reduce overall costs. This predictability allows local businesses like Optimus Solar to better predict workflow and supply chain needs.  Additionally, Mount Dora building officials have shown an appetite to learn and grow with the industry, making it fun and easy to work together to serve the needs of the community.

From a financial standpoint, the City of Mount Dora participates in a ‘traditional’ net-metering program, where power produced by the solar energy system is credited to the owner at the retail power rate.  However, going a step beyond this, any excess power produced is also automatically credited to the owner’s overall municipal utility bill (including water, etc,. because Mount Dora owns and runs its own electric utility).  This provides a consistent 12-month return to the system owner, helping to reduce their expenses.

These policies have recently proven extremely effective in incentivizing locals to go solar. For example, Optimus Solar operates a net-zero warehouse and office in the City, and has an effective utility bill of $10 per month across all services.  Additionally, due to its generous policy, a large commercial owner in the City has implemented a system with 108 solar panels, investing in the community, keeping money local, and providing a wonderful marketing story for the building’s tenants.

Mount Dora has built a rich history as a close-knit, caring community. This legacy is evident through the community’s current favorable approach to solar energy adoption, which will ensure that Mount Dora remains renown for its positive impact on residents, businesses and the state through its environmental policies.  The City has the further potential to save $2,000 per year per government vehicle by switching to EV’s. Once that transition inevitably occurs, residents will see an improvement in air quality, noise reduction, and further financial benefits in this pedestrian-based historic downtown corridor. Evidence would indicate that Mount Dora, self-proclaimed “Someplace Special” is indeed that, especially when it comes to solar.