Solar power comes to Indian Head
Energy company offers co-op opportunity
Going solar may seem like a daunting task, but a Maryland advocacy group is here to deliver the goods on those sleek, metallic panels lining rooftops across the state.
Maryland Solar United Neighborhoods (MD SUN) is forming a solar co-op in Indian Head for residents who would like to explore different energy options. Similar to buying in bulk, citizens would be able to make the transition to solar energy for a cheaper price by working as a group.
“We hope that people organize and use their collective buying power to go solar together,” said Corey Ramsden, MD SUN program director. “Solar is not hard, but it can be a little intimidating. There are a lot of different pieces and parts to proposals and things like that, so people find doing it in a group is helpful.”
MD SUN is a nonprofit organization focused on consumer advocacy, and does not make any pricing or purchasing decisions
for the collective. Instead, they inform residents about the benefits of solar power and then work with local groups to develop proposals for the co-op. A selection committee made up of co-op members chooses a single contractor based on the group’s preferences, and then the winning company works with each member to create an individualized proposal.
Indian Head officials invited MD SUN to hold information sessions to help get the word out about solar energy as part of the town’s sustainability efforts.
“Using renewable energy like solar fits into the longterm vision for the town,” said Mayor Brandon Paulin. “When I look at ways we can reduce our carbon footprint, solar is one way of going about doing that.”
It takes a minimum of 20 participants to form the
co-op. MD SUN has facilitated nearly two dozen of these unions throughout the state, including one of more than 300 people in Montgomery County. By going solar together, members can save up to 20 percent off the cost of
the system. Economical benefits abound, whether in a group or as an individual, Ramsden said.
“Even without the co-op, it makes economic sense for a lot of the people in Maryland,” Ramsden said. “Any house that is
going to get sufficient sun between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. … is gonna have a good roof for solar.”
Ramsden explained people choose to switch to solar power for many different reasons, depending on personal preferences.
“Some people come to it wanting to do something for the environment, other people are looking at it strictly in economic terms,” Ramsden said. “In Maryland it works for both. A lot of it is the motivation of the person, but what you’re really doing is fixing a part or all of your electricity cost for a long period of time.”
MD SUN will have an information session at the Village Green Pavilion on July 12 at 7 p.m.