Residents across the District are forming a solar co-op to go solar together, get a discount

By Zach Schalk on December 14, 2017
D.C. Program Director Yesenia Rivera leads the first information session for the 51st State Solar Co-op.

On Monday, December 11, dozens gathered in a Petworth Neighborhood Library basement meeting room to learn about going solar with the new 51st State Solar Co-op, now open to all District homeowners regardless of neighborhood and income level. While Solar United Neighbors (previously DC SUN) has helped nearly 500 District residents go solar in more than 20 solar co-ops, this one is different.

The 51st State Solar Co-op is a project funded by Solar for All, a program of the District of Columbia’s Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE) that seeks to provide the benefits of solar electricity to 100,000 low-income households and reduce their energy bills by 50% by 2032. The program, which was established by the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) Expansion Amendment Act of 2016, is funded by the Renewable Energy Development Fund (REDF). Income-qualified homeowners could qualify for a free solar installation under our DOEE grant.

Solar United Neighbors of D.C. will be hosting several more information sessions across the District to educate community members about going solar and the co-op process. D.C. homeowners interested in joining the co-op can sign up at Joining the co-op 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.

Co-op members will select a single company to complete all the installations. They will then have the option to purchase panels individually based on the installer’s group rate. By going solar as a group and choosing a single installer, participants can save off the cost of going solar and have the guidance from the experts at Solar United Neighbors.