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Open to new participants

Indianapolis 2020 Solar Co-op

Open to residents and small businesses in Marion County, Indiana.
2 months   left to join the co-op
Co-op closes to new participants on May 1, 2020

Indianapolis 2020 Solar Co-op issues RFP

Thursday, January 23, 2020

The Indianapolis 2020 Solar Co-op has released a request for proposals from area installers to serve the 50-member group. The group will continue to grow before the sign-up deadline, currently set at May 1. Neighbors in Indianapolis formed the group to make it easy to save on solar. This co-op is unique in that it consists of both market rate participants and low to moderate income participants thanks to a grant to cover the full cost of a solar installation for income eligible members. This program is possible thanks to a partnership with the City of Indianapolis-Office of Sustainability and the Bloomberg Philanthropies American Cities Climate Challenge.

Indianapolis residents interested in joining the co-op can sign up at the co-op webpage. Joining the co-op is not a commitment to purchase panels. Co-op members will select a single company to complete all of 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, each participant generally saves up to 20% off the cost of their system.

The group’s RFP can be downloaded here.

The response template can be downloaded here.

Because of the exciting grant-funding opportunity and the corresponding changes to this RFP, we are holding an optional installer information call on February 6th at 10AM ET. Check the RFP schedule for call-in information.

Bids are due Monday, February 10 at 5:00 p.m.

Co-op launch, grant funding opportunity generate media interest

Friday, January 10, 2020

Since officially launching at the Indiana Solar Congress in December, several media outlets have picked up the story. Grant funding available to low- and moderate-income co-op members through a partnership with the City of Indianapolis – Office of Sustainability and as part of the Bloomberg Philanthropies American Cities Climate Challenge have driven particular media interest. Here are a few examples of media coverage for the Indianapolis Solar Co-op so far!

The Indianapolis Star writes in First-of-its-kind program to provide free solar installations for low-income homes in 2020:

Up to 20 low- and middle-income Indianapolis homes could be running on solar power free of charge by the end of next year with the help of a new city initiative, which is the first of its kind in the Midwest…

The co-op is designed to reduce costs for solar installations by buying from contractors in bulk and then selecting from competitive bids from suppliers, said Solar United Neighbors’ Indiana program director Zach Schalk, and has seen success in other states.

“We’ve completed more than 220 of these co-ops at this point,” Schalk said. “We bring together neighbors and businesses and nonprofits and the giving community to help educate about solar technology and economics.”

The Associated Press writes in Indianapolis program boosting low-income solar power access:

The goal is to make solar power accessible to more homes, city Office of Sustainability Director Katie Robinson said.

Indianapolis homeowners with an income at or less than 80% of the area’s median household income are eligible for grant funding through this program. A family of four with an income of $63,900 would be eligible.

The households selected will receive the installation and equipment, said Zach Schalk, the Indiana program director for Solar United Neighbors.

“We’re really viewing this as a kind of pilot program, a proven concept to see a low-income solar program and what kind of impact it can have in Indianapolis,” Schalk said. “Hopefully turning around and being able to design something that will be a little more ambitious beyond 2020.”

The Indiana Environmental Reporter writes in Pilot Project Seeks to Bring Solar Power to Low-income Communities:

A pilot project is looking for Indianapolis homeowners interested in making the switch to solar power without spending a dime…

“We really want to make sure that the program is a step in a more inclusive and more equitable direction for our clean energy transition,” said Zach Schalk, Indiana program director for Solar United Neighbors. “Folks who are able to invest in solar can install solar on their roofs for the most part, but that leaves a lot of people behind who can’t afford to make that investment on their own. So, we think that solar energy should be able to benefit not just folks who have a lot of money to invest.”

For more media coverage of the Indianapolis Solar Co-op, check out our Press & Media page.

Co-op launched
December 7, 2019

Co-op organizer

Zach Schalk
Indiana Program Director
Solar United Neighbors

I am a passionate organizer and solar advocate dedicated to promoting justice. With more than a decade of experience as a communicator and organizer, I’ve seen the power of collective action in shaping a more just and equitable future. Building an electric system that distributes control and benefits back to local communities—with rooftop solar as the cornerstone—is one step to get us there. I live in Indianapolis with my wife and young child.

Email me