Flying solo on solar can be daunting â€” and expensiveÂ â€” so a national nonprofit group has formed a new Space CoastÂ co-operative to help Brevard County residents convert to solar power more affordably.
The Space Coast Solar Co-op was launched on Thursday with an announcement fromÂ The Solar United Neighbors (SUN), based in Washington, D.C.
The group guides homeowners and business owners through the learning process of rooftop solar, deciding whether their roof is appropriate for panels, the right size panels and other equipment choices, as well as choosing the right installer.Â
The co-op is free to join and open to homeowners and business owners in Brevard, SUN’s announcement said.
“This is actually our third solar co-op for residents of Brevard County,” Lisa Rimmert, spokeswoman for SUN said via email. The first was formed in 2016 and the second inÂ 2019, she added. “The program is similar, but each co-op gives more people a chance to learn about solar from our vendor-neutral experts.”
Co-op members learn about solar energy and leverage bulk purchasing to ensure competitive pricing and quality solar installations.
â€śThe co-op will enable Brevard County homeowners and business owners to join the growing community of people saving money by harnessing solar power,â€ť Heaven Campbell, Florida associate program director for SUN, said in a release.
Solar United Neighbors requests bids on the owners’ behalf. Then, a committee of co-op members assess the bids and select the best installer for the group.Â
Joining the co-op doesn’t obligate members to purchase solar, SUN assures. But members have the option to individually purchase panels and electric vehicle chargers based on the installerâ€™s group rate.
According to Thursday’s announcement, partners in the co-op includeÂ Citizensâ€™ Climate Lobby Space Coast chapter, the League of Women Voters of the Space Coast, Turtle CoastÂ Â Sierra Club, Space Coast EV Drivers, ReThink Energy Florida Brevard Chapter, and the Space Coast Progressive Alliance.
“We’re partnering with the solar co-op because solar power has a smaller carbon footprint and is also more resilient during power outages from tropical storms,â€ť Lisa Ruckman, co-leader of the Space Coast chapter of Citizensâ€™ Climate Lobby (CCL), said in the release.
â€śCCL empowers everyday people to work together towards solutions and the solar co-ops are neighbors working together to support each other through the process of solar decisions.”
SUN has helped set upÂ 60 solar co-ops in Florida since 2016. The groupÂ estimatesÂ the 1,773 homes and businesses that now have solar panels throughÂ co-ops representÂ 17 thousand kilowatts of solar power, $38.4 million in local solar spending, and more than 574 million poundsÂ of lifetime carbon dioxide offsets.
SUN will host several free information sessions to educate community members about solar energy and the co-op. Anyone interested in converting toÂ solar can sign up for the co-op or one of the upcoming information sessions at solarunitedneighbors.org/spacecoast.
Information meetings are currently planned for: