Solar Co-op

Due to unprecedented circumstances caused by COVID-19, the Solar United Neighbors organization said Thursday it has extended the sign-up deadline for its second Indiana County Solar Co-op until Aug. 15.

“The co-op has been progressing online during social distancing — with free webinars and video conferencing,” said Henry McKay, Pennsylvania SUN program director. “We want to make the co-op available to as many people as we can, and now that installations can be done, we’re excited to see the co-op grow even more.”

The pandemic caused a delay in solar installations as well as other construction projects, all part of Gov. Tom Wolf’s order to all “non-life-sustaining” businesses to cease operations that ended earlier this month.

In line with that restart, solar installers interested in serving the group can view updates and submit a proposal starting today at the co-op’s web page. According to the governor and state Department of Health, solar installers must adhere to certain health and safety requirements while on the job site, including wearing masks, maintaining 6 feet of social distancing where possible, and allowing no more than four crew members on site at once.

“The installations generated by the solar co-op will give a much-needed boost to our regional economy as we begin to emerge from this pandemic,” Indiana County Commissioner Sherene Hess said. “And by substantially lowering their energy bills, members of the solar co-op will become more resilient and better able to withstand future crises.”

The co-op, which currently has 20 members, is free to join and open to homeowners and business owners in Indiana County. Co-op members receive instruction about solar energy and can leverage their numbers to obtain a group rate for each installation.

Other SUN partners include the Evergreen Conservancy, League of Women Voters of Indiana County, Indiana Borough, Indiana County Chamber of Commerce and the Indiana County Sustainable Economic Development Task Force.