Rap­pa­han­nock res­i­dents go­ing so­lar

Rappahannock News - - FROM PAGE ONE -

Neigh­bors in Rap­pa­han­nock County have formed a so­lar co-op, lever­ag­ing their col­lec­tive buy­ing power to go so­lar to­gether and get a dis­count off the in­stal­la­tion price. Started in the spring, the so­lar co-op has quickly grown to 50 mem­bers, ac­cord­ing to a spokeper­son for VA SUN, which last week is­sued a re­quest for pro­pos­als from lo­cal so­lar in­stall­ers.

Co-op mem­ber­ship is still open to homes and busi­nesses in Rap­pa­han­nock County, where the Rap­pa­han­nock League for En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion has led re­cruit­ment ef­forts for the co-op.

“Rap­pa­han­nock County is ex­cited to go so­lar,” said RLEP’s pres­i­dent, Rick Kohler. “We are all in­ter­ested in ef­fi­cient ways to save money. Go­ing so­lar with your neigh­bors is a great way to do so, and we look for­ward to mak­ing Rap­pa­han­nock County ever greener and more nat­u­ral.”

VA SUN is a non­profit that helps make so­lar more af­ford­able and ac­ces­si­ble. It has worked with al­most a dozen so­lar co-ops in Vir­ginia. It helped 144 homes go so­lar; it says it’s saved Vir­ginia res­i­dents $396,000 in just the past year. VA SUN pro­vides tech­ni­cal as­sis­tance to co-op mem­bers as they re­view all of the bids the group re­ceives, so that the group can make the best de­ci­sion for its mem­bers.

“The VA SUN co-op process is ef­fi­cient and man­age­able,” said Larry Wohlers, RLEP and co-op mem­ber who orig­i­nated this process for Rap­pa­han­nock res­i­dents. “I feel con­fi­dent in the bid­ding process and look for­ward to go­ing so­lar.”

Join­ing the co-op is not a com­mit­ment to pur­chase pan­els. Now that the the group is large enough, VA SUN is help­ing the co-op so­licit com­pet­i­tive bids from area so­lar in­stall­ers. The co-op mem­bers will se­lect a sin­gle com­pany to com­plete all of the in­stal­la­tions. Co-op mem­bers will then have the op­tion to pur­chase pan­els based upon the in­staller’s of­fer in­di­vid­u­ally. By go­ing so­lar as a group and choos­ing a sin­gle in­staller, each par­tic­i­pant gen­er­ally saves up to 20 per­cent off the cost of their sys­tem and has the as­sis­tance of VA SUN to help nav­i­gate the process.

Rap­pa­han­nock County res­i­dents in­ter­ested in join­ing can learn more and sign up at vasun.org/so­lar­ize-vir­ginia/rap­pa­han­nock-so­lar-co-op.

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