Energy efficiency

Scottsdale home and business owners can join a cooperative that promises to secure rooftop solar panels at one of the cheapest – if not the cheapest – rate possible.

Solar United Neighbors, a Minnesota nonprofit that has been working nationwide to establish co-ops for the purchase and installation of solar panels is hosting two free online information sessions about their coops.

Sessions are slated at 6 p.m. April 6 and 6 p.m. April 21 and registration can be made at solarunitedneighbors.org/Arizona.

The co-ops are part of Solar United Neighbors’ mission “to create a new energy system with rooftop solar at the cornerstone” and “help people become informed solar consumers, maximize the value of their solar investment and advocate for fair solar policies.”

Members of the solar co-op receive a group discount on their system installation, as well as guidance throughout the process from the co-op. 

“Solar is widely popular in Arizona, but the many solar installers and options available can be overwhelming,” said Bret Fanshaw, Arizona program director for SUN. 

The federal solar tax credit slated to end after 2021 and systems must be in operation by the end of December to qualify for the credit. 

After a competitive bidding process facilitated by SUN, co-op members will together select a single company to complete their installations. Members will have the option to individually purchase panels and electric vehicle chargers based on the installer’s group rate. 

Additionally, throughout the process, Solar United Neighbors hosts online webinars as well as virtual site visits.

Solar United Neighbors has hosted five solar co-ops in Arizona since 2019, including one in north Phoenix.

According to the group’s estimates, the 95 homes and businesses that now have solar panels in Arizona because of co-ops represent 670 kW of solar power, $1.8 million in local solar spending, and more than 26 million pounds of lifetime carbon offsets.

Homeowners and business owners can sign up for either a Phoenix or the Scottsdale co-op group, depending on where they live. East Valley residents will be eligible to join the Scottsdale group. 

Local partners for the solar co-ops include Physicians for Social Responsibility – Arizona Chapter and Arizona Interfaith Power and Light. The Scottsdale solar co-op is made possible by funding from the Leon Lowenstein Foundation.

“Physicians for Social Responsibility Arizona is proud to co-sponsor the SUN co-ops,” said Barbara Warren, PSR Arizona chapter director. “Solar energy is a very cost-effective and important tool to help reduce health-threatening pollution and our seriously warming climate.”

“People of faith and conscience in Arizona join with St. Francis, the Patron Saint of Ecology, to promote the beauty and power of solar energy,” said Rev. Doug Bland, executive Director of Arizona Interfaith Power and Light.