Two counties launch latest co-ops to bring more residential solar, energy freedom to Indiana communities
Nonprofit group Solar United Neighbors has launched two solar co-ops in Indiana—in Boone and Hamilton Counties. The co-ops will help homeowners and small business owners to go solar together, using bulk purchasing to secure competitive pricing.
Instead of an in-person community meeting, Solar United Neighbors hosted a free virtual event to launch the co-ops. The event included a solar home tour and a presentation about solar technology and economics.
“We wanted to give attendees practical information about going solar and joining the solar co-ops,” said Zach Schalk, Indiana program director for Solar United Neighbors. “We’re excited to engage with Hoosiers who are interested in joining a co-op, as well as folks who just want to learn more about solar energy.”
“We are excited to partner with Solar United Neighbors to empower residents to move forward with clean, renewable energy,” said Zionsville Mayor Emily Styron. The Town of Zionsville is partnering with Solar United Neighbors to host the co-op in Boone County. “If you have ever thought about installing solar, this is a great way to learn more and get started.”
The solar co-ops are cost- and commitment-free. Together, co-op members will learn about solar energy and leverage bulk purchasing to ensure competitive pricing and quality solar installations.
“We look at the solar system as a part of our overall retirement investment portfolio,” said homeowner Terry McCain, who showcased his solar array at the virtual co-op kickoff. “Reducing monthly expenses reduces income needs. From an investment return perspective, the solar system has a financial return greater than investment grade bonds but generally less than stocks. However, the solar investment is immune to the volatility of the stock market; which, in 2020 is a good thing.”
After a competitive bidding process facilitated by Solar United Neighbors, co-op members will select a single solar company to complete the installations. Joining a co-op does not obligate members to purchase solar. Instead, members will have the option to individually purchase panels and electric vehicle chargers based on the installer’s group rate.
Solar United Neighbors has hosted three solar co-ops in Indiana since April 2019. According to the group’s estimates, the 38 homes and businesses that now have solar panels because of co-ops represent: 395.4 kW of solar power, $1.2 million in local solar spending, and more than 14.5 million lbs. of lifetime carbon offsets.
Interested individuals can click here to watch the webinar event or join the Boone County Solar Co-op or Hamilton County Solar Co-op.
- For Boone County: the Town of Zionsville, Boone County Voices for Change, Earth Charter Indiana, Citizens Action Coalition, Hoosier EVA, Hoosier Environmental Council, Hoosier Interfaith Power and Light, and Sierra Club Hoosier Chapter
- For Hamilton County: Solarize Hamilton County, the Cities of Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, and Westfield; as well as Carmel Green Initiative, Westfield Green Together, Sierra Club Hoosier Chapter, Hoosier Interfaith Power and Light, Hoosier Environmental Council, Hoosier EVA, Citizens Action Coalition, and Earth Charter Indiana.