More than 40 local families are powering their homes with solar energy thanks to a Gulf Coast Community Foundation grant to Solar United Neighbors (SUN). Gulf Coast provided SUN with $30,000 in funding to help launch two solar buying groups, called “solar co-ops.” The first co-op launched in 2020; the second earlier this year.
The solar co-ops are free to join, and joining the co-op is not a commitment to purchase panels. SUN solicits bids from local installers on behalf of the group. A selection committee, composed of co-op members, reviews each bid and chooses one installer to serve the group. The chosen installer then develops personalized proposals for each co-op member. Members then decide individually if going solar is right for them.
By going solar as a group and choosing a single installer, members can save on the cost of going solar and have the support of fellow group members and solar experts at Solar United Neighbors. Currently, more than 40 families have opted to install solar panels. These new installations are responsible for investing $1.2 million in the local economy and offsetting nearly 7,500 metric tons of CO2.