What’s a Solar Co-op?
A solar co-op is a group of property owners who use their combined buying power to save money going solar. We’ve helped thousands of people go solar in hundreds of co-ops across the country. If we don’t have an active program in your area, we can also help you go solar on your own.
Solar co-ops are member driven and free to join. You are never charged by Solar United Neighbors for participating in a solar co-op. As a solar co-op member, you will receive a personalized bid from a solar installer selected by the group. At that time, you can decide whether to move forward with your solar installation.
Solar co-op benefits
Buying solar as part of a group saves you money. Co-ops solicit competitive bids from installers, so you’ll get a great price on a personalized solar proposal. For installers, finding and acquiring solar customers is a major expense. Servicing our solar co-op members is less expensive for installers, meaning they can charge you less.
Solar co-ops offer support and peace of mind. Our team of solar professionals provides expert, independent advice to you throughout the process. We’re here to make sure you are armed with all the information you need to make informed decisions about your solar investment. Since we’re a non-profit – not an installer – our primary interest is making sure you have a great experience going solar.
How a solar co-op works
Solar co-ops are free to join, and joining does not commit you to going solar. Solar co-op regions may be county-wide or even span multiple counties; members of the solar co-op do not necessarily live right next to each other. The process can take anywhere from three to nine months, depending on when you join the co-op. Most of our co-ops have between 30-100 members. They’re big enough to attract competitive bids from installers, but small enough to meet and connect with other members.
Learn about the co-op
A new solar co-op starts with a series of free, public information sessions. Our experts explain the basics of solar technology, solar economics, and how our co-ops work. These information sessions are tailored to your area, since local policies and incentives can have a big impact on your experience going solar.
Joining the co-op
Joining your local solar co-op is free and does not commit you to going solar. We help you evaluate your property (typically the roof) for solar, and show you how going solar can add up to big energy savings.
Selecting an installer
Once there is a critical mass of solar co-op members (usually 20 to 30), Solar United Neighbors issues a request for proposals to local solar installation companies on behalf of the co-op. Co-op members volunteer to serve on an Installer Selection Committee that meets to review the submitted bids and selects one solar installer to service everyone in the solar co-op. Our team is present during the selection committee meeting to facilitate and provide technical expertise, but you and your fellow solar co-op members select the installer that best fits the local group’s needs and priorities.
Time to go solar
Additional members can still join the solar co-op for a limited period of time after an installer is selected. The installer will work with each co-op member to develop a personalized proposal, at which point you can choose whether to sign an installation contract.
How solar co-ops are funded
We do not charge members a fee to join a solar co-op. The selected installer pays a referral fee to Solar United Neighbors for each co-op member who signs a contract for solar. We use these funds to develop future co-ops. Since solar co-op members are educated about solar and their roofs have already been evaluated, our process saves the installer significant time and money acquiring and educating potential customers, ultimately saving you money as a consumer.