Rockbridge co-op succeeds with strong community

By Ben Delman on July 6, 2016

Word-of-mouth is a great way to get more people to join a solar co-op. As, the Rockbridge Area Solar Co-op shows, it’s a great way to start new co-ops as well.

Bob Biersack and Chris Wise of the Rockbridge Area Conservation Council (RACC) learned about a solar co-op in nearby Augusta County. They went to an information session and thought, “this is something we can do in Rockbridge”.

RACC formed four decades ago to preserve quality of life in the region by protecting its natural resources. The organization has built a strong network of members who rely on the group for information about critical issues happening in the area.

This made the group a natural focal point for the co-op effort.

“I knew a lot of people who would be interested,” Biersack said. “It built so easily and quickly because it was the right place at the right time.”

Biersack said there were many people who had previously looked into solar but thought it was too complicated or expensive. Working with the group allowed these folks to work with experts and other like-minded people to understand how solar would work with their home. They also had the benefit of the group discount.

The group’s outreach spread beyond RACC. The group’s long-standing position in the community helped it recruit other partners such as the local chamber of commerce.

In total, more than 100 people signed up for the co-op. Of those, 35 decided to install solar. “Rockbridge is an amazing place physically, but also the community,” Biersack said. “It’s an amazing group of people.