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Solar United Neighbors Launches Solar Co-op in Dallas County

Dallas — Homeowners and business owners in Dallas County now have the opportunity to join a solar co-op launched by the non-profit Solar United Neighbors, in partnership with 350 Dallas and Green Careers Dallas. The Office of Environmental Quality and Sustainability hosted a press conference in Dallas on Tuesday, Dec. 17, to launch the solar co-op.

“Today we’re talking about how Solar United Neighbors has an excellent co-op model for helping people to join with each other and form a co-op, so they can learn about solar [power]. They can go out and get bids for solar, bring their price down and work together to put solar on their own houses,” Jimmy Hosch of 350 Dallas said. “It’s a little lonesome being the ‘Lone Ranger’ if you’re out there trying to put solar on your house. It’s a lot more comfortable if you have your neighbors and friends in the battle with you, so you can have somebody you can talk to and compare notes with. It’s just a more social way to go after this problem.”

“We are happy to partner on this initiative to make it easier for everyday Dallasites to go solar,” Molly Rooke, leader of 350 Dallas, said. “Texas is a great state for solar, and we’re excited to help make this renewable resource more accessible to people through the group-buy model.”

“The Dallas solar co-op will enable more homeowners and business owners to join the growing community of Texans saving money by harnessing solar power,” Hanna Mitchell, program director for Solar United Neighbors of Texas, said. “Together, we’re building a movement to transform our electricity system into one that is cleaner, fairer, and shares its benefits more broadly.”

Solar United Neighbors expands access to solar by educating Texas residents about the benefits of distributed solar energy, helping them to organize group solar installations, and strengthening the state’s solar policies and its community of solar supporters.

“Texas is one of the newer states for Solar United Neighbors,” Mitchell said. “We’re a small but national non-profit program in 12 states across the country. So far, we’ve had 4 or 5 [co-ops] in the Houston area, and we’re moving into Dallas to expand better access to solar energy options for folks in Dallas County.”

“More solar is not just an asset for those who decide to put panels on their roofs,” Tracy Wallace, executive director of Green Careers Dallas, said. “It can also have positive impacts for jobs and community development. If you’ve ever thought about going solar before, this is the perfect opportunity to do so.”

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, members can save money when installing solar panels and have the support of fellow group members and solar experts at Solar United Neighbors.

“Expanding residential solar is important to the success of our climate action plan,” Susan Alvarez, assistant director of the Office of Environmental Quality and Sustainability in Dallas, said.

Dallas County homeowners interested in switching to solar can sign up for the co-op or attend one of the upcoming information meetings at the co-op web page: www.solarunitedneighbors.org/dallas. The solar co-op is free to join and joining is not a commitment to purchase panels. Once the group is large enough, Solar United Neighbors will help the co-op solicit competitive bids from area solar installers.

Solar United Neighbors will have two free co-op information meetings in January for anyone interested in learning more. The first meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 7, at 6:30 p.m. at the Texas New Era Center. The second meeting will be on Thursday, Jan. 9, at 6:30 p.m. at the Anita Martinez Recreation Center.