After two successful Montgomery County co-ops helped 143 people go solar and over 600 people learn about solar, the area is again ready for another co-op opportunity. Solar United Neighbors and several co-op partners have had a steady stream of requests for the next Montgomery County co-op.
Montgomery County homeowners interested in joining the co-op can sign up at the co-op web page: www.solarunitedneighbors.org/montgomery-county. The solar co-op is free to join and joining is not a commitment to purchase panels. Once the group is large enough, Solar United Neighbors will help the co-op solicit competitive bids from area solar installers.
Partners include the Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection, the City of Rockville, the City of Takoma Park, One Montgomery Green, Poolesville Green and Interfaith Power and Light.
These partners have already worked to get the word out and schedule several info sessions in the coming months. Solar co-ops are only possible—and incredibly successful—because of the work and reach of these organizations. They help co-ops reach out to and gain the trust of community members, an invaluable asset for expanding a local network of solar supporters.
What is a solar co-op?
A solar co-op is a group of home or small business owners in a defined geographic area who use their combined purchasing power to ensure they receive the best value for their solar installation. Solar installers face significant costs finding, qualifying, and educating solar customers. By forming a group of interested buyers, co-op participants ensure the most competitive pricing because Solar United Neighbors has already done some of the work for the installer.
More importantly, co-op participants also have access to an installer-neutral and unbiased staff of solar experts to guide them through the installation process and help them understand topics like the value of their solar system, local policies, and financing options. Solar United Neighbors provides educational resources, public information sessions, and one-on-one support for all co-op participants. All co-op participants are able to join the growing movement of solar owners and are keyed into important issues and updates in solar.
How a solar co-op works
Our unique co-op process helps ensure each member gets a quality install from a vetted and neutrally-selected installer. What’s more, it costs nothing to join the group! We help each solar co-op develop a request for proposals from local installers, resulting in a competitive bidding process. The co-op participants form a selection committee to review each bid and select which one is best for the group, with the technical guidance and support of Solar United Neighbors. We stay entirely installer neutral throughout the process and the installer selection decision is solely up to group members. We provide support by ensuring each selection committee member understands all the components of the bids and can make a fully informed decision. The winning installer’s bid will then set the price, equipment, warranties, and any additional components for all proposals issued to co-op members.
We work closely with co-op participants once the installer is chosen to evaluate their solar contracts and advocate on their behalf during the installation process. Solar United Neighbors provides one-on-one support to any participant who needs additional help and ensures that our co-op members have everything they need before going solar.
Once the installer has finished work on the co-op homes that choose to install solar panels, we throw a big party to celebrate the success of the co-op and recognize everyone who helped along the way!
Upcoming information sessions
Tuesday, May 7
Rockville City Hall
111 Maryland Avenue
Rockville, MD 20850
Click here to RSVP