Our history

Walter and Diego on roof-min

Walter and Deigo as teenagers at the start of the Mount Pleasant Solar Cooperative.

Solar United Neighbors began in 2007 when Anya Schoolman’s son Walter and his friend Diego saw “An Inconvenient Truth.” They decided they wanted to install solar panels on their homes. When Anya looked into going solar, though, she discovered it was complicated and expensive.

But Walter and Diego would not be talked out of it. Anya wondered if some sort of bulk purchase might make solar affordable. So Diego and Walter knocked on doors throughout their neighborhood. In just two weeks, they signed up 50 neighbors who also wanted to go solar.

Mt. Pleasant Solar Co-op yard sign

The original Mount Pleasant Solar Cooperative logo.

That first group, the Mt. Pleasant Solar Cooperative, helped 45 neighbors go solar. They also passed legislation to improve local solar policies, fought for their rights as energy producers, and shared their success with friends and neighbors. Soon after, other neighbors from across the region started organizing solar co-ops and fighting for better solar policies together.

Solar United Neighbors grew out of this movement. Since 2007, we’ve expanded across the country, doing on-the-ground projects and helping communities everywhere take control of their energy.

Mt. Pleasant Solar Cooperative Day 2009

The Mt. Pleasant Solar Cooperative holds a community festival in 2009.

Throughout it all, we’ve remained committed to the idea that people should have a say in their energy system and, if they invest in it, they should benefit from it.

Our growth has been organic. We’ve gone through a number of name changes as we’ve evolved from a small neighborhood project to a national organization helping people fight for their energy rights across the country. But, throughout it all, we’ve remained committed to the idea that people should have a say in their energy system and, if they invest in it, they should benefit from it. Check out a detailed history of Solar United Neighbors.

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