Rooftop solar power: Nonprofit offers Phoenix-area homeowners free info – The Arizona Republic

3 minutes, 8 seconds Read

A nonprofit group is launching a cooperative to help Phoenix-area residents learn more about generating their own rooftop solar power, with an eye on securing discounts for members who decide to purchase the necessary equipment.

“If you’ve ever thought about going solar, now’s your chance,” said Adrian Keller, Phoenix program director for Solar United Neighbors, in a statement.

The 2024 Phoenix area metro co-op is free to join and open to homeowners and business owners. Co-op members will learn about solar energy at in-person and Zoom meetings and leverage their numbers to buy individual solar systems or electric-vehicle chargers at a discounted group price. However, members aren’t obligated to make any purchases. SUN has formed several other co-ops in the Phoenix area in recent years.

The co-op welcomes customers of any electric utility in the Valley, though now is an especially good time for Arizona Public Service customers. APS customers who sign a contract to go solar by mid-August can lock in and earn a credit rate for electricity they generate but don’t use themselves. Customers can lock in the current rate for the next 10 years. Otherwise, APS will reduce the credit rate by 10% annually.

SUN co-ops implement a competitive bidding process, after which members will select one solar company to make installations. The 2024 Phoenix co-op is aiming to attract 150 members but can accommodate more.

Anyone who joins the co-op also is eligible to participate on the committee that selects the solar contract for the group, said Seth Newmeyer, a spokesman for SUN, in an email. “Our solar experts are there to help them solicit and interpret contracts from various solar providers, so that they can make an informed choice about which contract they’d prefer.”

When a co-op secures a group contract, each member must decide whether to purchase solar panels for his or her home or business. These contracts typically are cheaper and more reliable than what individuals can get on their own, as installers often provide a group discount, Newmeyer said.

SUN’s solar experts “help solicit and vet large numbers of these contracts, which means that individuals are more likely to wind up with good deals,” he added.

Various municipal and community groups are partnering with SUN, including the city of Phoenix, Vote Solar, Chispa AZ and the Raza Development Fund, partly to bridge gaps in access and affordability for modest-income residents.

SUN will host several free informational webinars to educate the public about solar energy and the co-op. Individuals interested in learning more can sign up for the co-op or one of the upcoming information sessions at the Phoenix co-op website. A Zoom webinar is planned for May 15.

SUN advises homeowners to install solar panels if their roof is less than roughly 10 years old, Keller said in an email. You can install panels on an older roof, but you will likely have to pay to remove and reinstall the panels if and when you need to replace the roof. Solar installers can work with most roofing materials, he added.

Other considerations include possible upgrades to a home’s main electrical service panel, mainly on older homes, and adequate positioning of a roof, preferably facing south, Keller said.

“SUN performs a free satellite roof review right out of the gate to check spacing, direction and obstructions of each member’s roof,” he said. “This is really helpful for people because we let them know if their home is a good site for solar before they proceed any further.” 

Solar United Neighbors is a nonprofit organization working across the nation to represent solar owners and supporters. Solar co-ops are part of the organization’s mission to create a new energy system with rooftop solar as the cornerstone.

Reach the writer at [email protected].

This post was originally published on 3rd party site mentioned in the title of this site

Similar Posts