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Solar Co-op Looking For East Valley Members

Tempe resident Nat Butler is interested in getting solar panels on his house. His neighbors are thinking about it, too. Now could be their opportunity. 

East Valley residents currently have the chance to join a  new co-op for rooftop solar installation, organized by the not-for-profit Solar United Neighbors. Butler visited an information session at the Tempe Library last week to learn more.

“I’ve been a part of different co-ops for my life for a long time,” Butler said. “It’s a way that you can pool resources and come together as a group to get cheaper rates on things.”

In this case, solar panel installation would be cheaper. If enough people join, the co-op will have more purchasing power and can solicit group bids from installers. The goal is to get 50 to 100 members.

Putting solar panels on your house is about the cost of a good used car, but it depends a lot on your actual roof and how much energy you use. 

Bret Fanshaw, Arizona program director with Solar United Neighbors, said there are a lot of variables. 

“What are the tax incentives? How do those work? What are the state incentives available? Is this gonna save me money on my energy bill? So there’s a lot of questions and we’re trying to demystify that through this process,” he said.

Fanshaw’s group, which he stresses does not choose the installer, has organized co-ops in other states and the District of Columbia. This particular effort is open only to East Valley residents and businesses who buy power from SRP. 

Bret Jaspers was a senior field correspondent at KJZZ from 2017 to 2020.