The Indiana County Solar Co-op has selected an Altoona-based company to install solar panels for the co-op.

The 39-member group said it selected Groundhog Solar LLC through a competitive bidding process over three other firms, citing its competitive pricing, strong track record of installations and system performance guarantee.

“It is an honor to be selected because we know how thoroughly they reviewed each bid,” said Richard Flarend, owner of Groundhog Solar, in a news release.

“We are eager to help more people go solar by providing quality panels at a good price.”

The co-op’s backers include the Borough of Indiana, Evergreen Conservancy, the Indiana County Sustainable Economic Development Task Force and the nonprofit Solar United Neighbors organization.

Solar United Neighbors, an organization that supports the use of solar energy across the county, expands access to solar by educating Pennsylvania residents about the benefits of distributed solar energy, helping them organize group solar installations, and strengthening Pennsylvania solar policies and its community of solar supporters.

“Thanks to Solar United Neighbors for all of the helpful information they provided.

It greatly increases my comfort level and confidence in going solar,” said Matthew Baumer, a selection committee participant.

“It was fantastic to receive such detailed bids from all of the installers, and we feel optimistic that Groundhog Solar will provide a quality installation at the most reasonable price. Looking forward to the next step in the process.”

The co-op was kicked off with an informational meeting in November at the Indiana borough building.

It will hold its final public information session to educate the community about solar and the co-op process on April 10 at 5:30 p.m. at the Blairsville Parks and Recreation Department, 101 E. North Lane, Blairsville.

The co-op is open to new participants until April 26. Indiana County residents interested in joining the co-op can sign up at the co-op web page:

Co-op organizers stressed that the solar co-op is free to join, and joining is not a commitment to purchase panels.

They said Groundhog Solar will provide each co-op participant with an individualized proposal based on the group rate.

By going solar as a group and choosing a single installer, participants can save on the cost of going solar and have the support of fellow group participants and solar experts at Solar United Neighbors.