Rappahannock residents going solar
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.