New citywide co-op allows Houstonians to get discounted solar panels, rates

A new citywide cooperative enables Houstonians to get discounted solar panels and electricity tariffs (Courtesy City of Houston).

Houston residents can now join a city-wide “solar cooperative”. The method allows residents to order solar modules as part of a bulk purchase, lowering the price of both the modules and installation while ensuring the lowest possible electricity tariff.

“Mass purchase programs like this will help our city achieve our energy transition goals and increase local investment in renewable and resilient energies,” Mayor Sylvester Turner said at a press conference on April 21.

The city of Houston has partnered with nonprofit Solar United Neighbors to simplify the program. The organization serves as a liaison between homeowners who wish to join the cooperative and solar panel companies in search of customers interested in discounts offered through a group order. Solar United Neighbors also screen companies for quality of service. Potential members have until July 31, 2021 to join the city-wide cooperative. Anyone who joins is not required to buy solar panels, but reserves the option to do so in the future at the same group rate the cooperative secures, according to a city press release on the initiative.

Residents interested in participating in the city-wide cooperative can attend upcoming information events.

May 6, 6:30 p.m.

Registration: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_fLTApbdRTJyyFc6BVORzjg

May 19, noon

Registration: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_n5l-4jaoS7uZwPuC0HgSFQ

Before Turner started the citywide cooperative, several small cooperatives were organized by groups of residents across the city through Solar United Neighbors. Neighborhoods include Central Houston, Spring Branch, East Houston, and West Houston.

The citywide cooperative is part of the Houston Climate Change Plan, which set a series of sustainability goals for the city in April 2020. Among other things, the city wants to become climate neutral by 2050.

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