Solar United Neighbors (SUN) is a nonprofit organization working in Arizona and nationwide to “represent the needs and interests of solar owners and supporters” as part of its mission to “create a new energy system with rooftop solar as the cornerstone” SUN conducts events and educational programs to “help people become informed solar consumers, maximize the value of their solar investment, and advocate for fair solar policies.”
On March 15 SUN announced the launch of the Quad-Cities Solar Co-op to help local residents go solar. The co-op is free to join and open to homeowners and businesses in Prescott, Prescott Valley, Chino Valley, and Dewey-Humboldt. Co-op members learn about solar energy and leverage their numbers to purchase individual solar systems at competitive prices and top quality. The organization has established similar co-ops across the state, ranging from 50-200 members.
“This is a great opportunity for Quad-Cities residents to improve their energy independence, protect our beautiful clean air, and save money on electric bills. The SUN solar co-op helps reduce overall costs for participants. What’s not to love?” said Julie Pindzola, member of the Interfaith Climate Action Team.
After a competitive bidding process facilitated by SUN, which remains vendor-neutral, co-op members will select a single solar company to complete the installations. Joining the co-op does not oblige members to purchase solar. Instead, members have the option to individually purchase panels and even electric-vehicle chargers based on the installer’s group rate.
Prescott resident Greg Murray installed rooftop solar and said his family’s APS bill subsequently dropped to $26 per month. Including the monthly loan payment (at 1.49% interest) their average monthly cost for electricity is still only $85 per month. Murray says their system typically generates more power than they use, and they sell the surplus to APS. “That benefits everyone, because APS doesn’t have to build as much new generation capacity as it would otherwise. Another win for solar in Arizona!” Following passage of the federal Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) in 2022, co-op members will also have the opportunity to use a 30% solar tax credit for residential solar. A similar tax credit is available to small businesses, who may also join the co-op.
"Unless you're a committed do-it-yourselfer with some specialized knowledge and a bit of daring, going solar can be very intimidating. The coop provides an easy and cost-effective route to getting rooftop solar on your home,” said Gary Beverly, Chair of the Sierra Club Yavapai Group. “You’ll also get the feel-good community benefit of being a part of renewable-energy solutions.”
The co-op will also help participants consider battery storage, which helps bolster the grid during extreme weather events like last summer’s monsoons. Thanks to the IRA homeowners can take a 30% tax credit for battery storage for the next ten years. The new legislation also makes it possible to get the tax credit for standalone storage, no solar needed. As a result, battery storage is more accessible than ever.
“The SUN solar co-op is an exciting local climate action in response to the momentous release of the Quad-Cities Climate Profile and Local Climate Action Options report,” said Zachary Czuprynski, board member of the Yavapai Climate Change Coalition. “By empowering members of our community to install solar, we also improve energy diversity and security. This makes our local economy more resilient.”
“Solar energy reduces greenhouse-gas emissions, which is essential to protecting humans, wildlife, and ecosystems, improving air quality, and reducing water usage from energy production,” said Daniel Erwin, Regional Field Organizer for the Northern Arizona Climate Change Alliance. “We’re excited to be partnering with SUN to open the solar co-op and helping protect our vital and precious resources here in the region.” Partnering on the co-op are the Yavapai Climate Change Coalition, the Northern Arizona Climate Change Alliance, the Sierra Club Yavapai Group, and the Interfaith Climate Action Team.
Since 2019 SUN has hosted 13 solar coops in Arizona. The group estimates that the 383 homes and businesses that now have solar panels because of co-ops represent 3,070kW of solar power, $9 million in local solar spending, and more than 89 million pounds of lifetime carbon offsets. Those interested in going solar can sign up for the co-op or the upcoming information session at solarunitedneighbors.org/quadcities. The co-op currently has 65 participants. You can still apply until May 31.
“The co-op will enable Quad Cities area homeowners and business owners to join the growing community of people saving money by harnessing solar power,” said Adrian Keller, Arizona Program Director for Solar United Neighbors. “Together, we’re building a movement to transform our electricity system into one that is cleaner, fairer, and shares its benefits more broadly.”
For more info contact Hannah Arndt at 415-726-8191 or email@example.com.