Get to know Solar United Neighbors of Minnesota

By Virginia Rutter on February 21, 2019

Virginia Rutter, Minnesota State Director of Solar United NeighborsWelcome to Solar United Neighbors of Minnesota! I’m Virginia Rutter, the Program Director.

Solar United Neighbors of Minnesota launched in October 2017 as the local program of Solar United Neighbors, a community of people building a new energy system with rooftop solar as the cornerstone. We help people go solar, join together, and fight for their energy rights.

What Solar United Neighbors does

We work locally to help people go solar. Working with our in-state partners, we develop solar co-ops, which bring neighbors together to bulk purchase solar energy systems in order to save money. As a solar co-op participant, we help you understand solar technology, solar financing, and the process to install panels on your home. We start by helping your group solicit and review proposals from area installers. As the representative of Solar United Neighbors, I’ll serve as a neutral advisor throughout the selection process, as your group selects the solar installer that best meets your needs. The chosen installer then develops personalized proposals for you and everyone else in your solar co-op, which you’ll individually review and decide if you want to commit to going solar. It’s a proven model which we’ve used to help more than 3,500 households in a dozen states install solar.

Learn more about co-ops in your area! 

In our first year of programming, Solar United Neighbors of Minnesota:

  • Helped 59 families go solar, with 380.2 kW of solar (and counting!), which – if they’re in line with the average single-family homes, should offset around 72% of their energy usage.
  • Gave more than 20 free informational presentations on rooftop solar, reaching more than 500 people across the state.
  • Connected with communities at more than 10 tabling events across the state.

How we can help you go solar

Before joining Solar United Neighbors, I worked in clean energy finance consulting, helping  local governments and nonprofit clients navigate the community solar subscription process. I have a deep understand of the regulatory process and have worked with organizations to develop small to medium-sized energy efficiency and solar projects on their properties, so I’m uniquely equipped to guide you during your solar experience. I love helping homeowners learn about solar, and I’d love to talk with you about bringing a solar co-op to your community. Reach out to my team and let’s get started!