Solar Co-op

The nonprofit group Solar United Neighbors has announced the relaunch of an Indiana County Solar Co-op to help residents go solar and save.

“Indiana County is an energy county and solar energy is emerging as the next chapter in its history,” said Henry McKay, Pennsylvania program director for Solar United Neighbors. “Folks here want an electricity system that’s cleaner, fairer and shares its benefits more broadly. I’m thrilled to once again be working with Indiana County to help people here go solar.”

The co-op is free to join and open to homeowners and business owners in Indiana County.

Together, co-op members will learn about solar energy and leverage bulk purchasing to ensure competitive pricing and quality solar installations.

As was the case previously, after a competitive bidding process facilitated by Solar United Neighbors, co-op members will select a single solar company to complete the installations. Joining the 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 nine solar co-ops in Pennsylvania since 2018. This is its second in Indiana County. “Our first co-op here in 2019, was our most successful in the state,” said McKay. “It fared even better than co-ops in Pittsburgh, and we increased the amount of solar in Indiana County by more than 80 percent.”

The original solar co-op partner organizations — Evergreen Conservancy, the League of Women Voters of Indiana County, Indiana Borough and the Indiana County Sustainable Economic Development Task Force — have returned to partner this year. Additionally, the Indiana County Chamber of Commerce has signed on.

“We are thrilled by the success of the first Indiana County Solar Co-op and see great potential for it to grow even more this time around,” said Mark Hilliard, president of the Indiana County Chamber of Commerce. “I am hopeful that business leaders attend our information sessions to learn more about the program and see what benefits there may be to their business. It could be outstanding for our community.”

According to the estimates by Solar United Neighbors, the 58 Pennsylvania homes and businesses its co-ops have helped go solar represent 514.2 kW of solar power, $1.4 million in local solar spending and more than 14 million pounds of lifetime carbon offsets.

Solar United Neighbors will host several free information sessions to educate community members about solar energy and the co-op. Individuals interested in going solar can sign up for the co-op or one of the upcoming information sessions at the co-op web page.