Image by Photo Mix from Pixabay
Wednesday, nonprofit group Solar United Neighbors (SUN) announced the launch of the Quad Cities Solar Co-op to help Quad Cities residents go solar.
The solar co-op is free to join and open to homeowners and business owners in the Quad Cities region, including residents in and around Prescott, Prescott Valley, Chino Valley, and Dewey-Humboldt. Together, co-op members will learn about solar energy and leverage their numbers to purchase individual solar systems at a competitive price and top quality. Solar United Neighbors has run solar co-ops across the state, ranging from 50-200 members, but this is the first one for Quad Cities area residents.
“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 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 obligate members to purchase solar. Instead, members will have the option to individually purchase panels and electric vehicle chargers based on the installer’s group rate.
Greg Murray is a Prescott resident who installed rooftop solar and said their electric bill has dropped to $26 per month. With their monthly loan payment (and 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 Arizona Public Service. “That benefits everyone,” said Murray, “because APS doesn’t have to build as much new generation capacity as it would otherwise have to. Another win for solar in Arizona!”
With the federal passage of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) in 2022, co-op members will also have the opportunity to use the solar tax credit for residential solar. The IRA increased the tax credit to 30%. A similar tax credit is also available to small businesses, who are invited to take part in 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 Quad Cities solar co-op provides an easy and cost-effective route to getting rooftop solar on your home,” said Gary Beverly, Chair of Sierra Club Yavapai Group. “And, you’ll get the feel-good community benefit of being a part of renewable energy solutions.”
The solar co-op will also help participants consider battery storage, which, paired with solar, 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 10 years. The new legislation also makes it possible to get the tax credit for stand-alone 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 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 Northern Arizona Climate Change Alliance. “We’re excited to be partnering with SUN to open the solar co-op and helping to protect our vital and precious resources here in the Quad Cities region.”
Partnering on the co-op are Yavapai Climate Change Coalition, Northern Arizona Climate Change Alliance, Sierra Club Yavapai Group, and Interfaith Climate Action Team.
SUN has hosted 13 solar co-ops in Arizona since 2019. According to the group’s estimates, the 383 homes and businesses that now have solar panels because of co-ops represent: 3,070 kW of solar power, $9 million in local solar spending, and more than 89 million lbs. of lifetime carbon offsets.
SUN will host a free information session at Prescott Public Library on Wednesday, March 22 at 6 p.m. to educate community members about solar energy and the co-op. Individuals interested in going solar can sign up for the co-op or the upcoming information session HERE
“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.”
An information meeting is planned for:
Wednesday, March 22 at 6 p.m.
Prescott Public Library
215 E Goodwin St.
Founders Suite A & B
About Solar United Neighbors
Solar United Neighbors is a nonprofit organization that works in Arizona and nationwide to represent the needs and interests of solar owners and supporters. Solar co-ops are part of the organization’s mission to create a new energy system with rooftop solar at the cornerstone. Solar United Neighbors holds events and education programs to help people become informed solar consumers, maximize the value of their solar investment, and advocate for fair solar policies.