New Solar Co-op Forms

A crew installs solar panels on a Burleith home last winter.

A crew installs solar panels on a Burleith home last winter.

By Greg Miller, gmiller31@gmail.com

This post has been updated since its original posting on February 5.

  • Check out the virtual solar tour of our neighborhood using Google Earth.
  • Attend the second DC SUN information session on Tuesday, March 28, 6:30–8 pm, at the Georgetown Neighborhood Library. RSVP here. (Rescheduled from March 14, due to snow.)

Over the past several years, half a dozen Burleith residents have installed solar panels on their rooftops, joining over 40 other home- and business-owners in the broader Burleith, Hillandale, and Georgetown neighborhoods who have done so. Building on this existing community support for solar power, local community members are partnering with the nonprofit solar advocacy organization DC Solar United Neighborhoods (DC SUN) to launch a solar co-op for Burleith, Hillandale, and Georgetown. (Despite this geographic focus, you need not live in one of these neighborhoods to join this co-op.)

A solar co-op is a group of community members who join together to learn about the benefits of installing solar on their rooftops, navigate the solar permitting and installation process together, and negotiate discounted pricing by soliciting bids collectively. DC SUN acts as an independent facilitator, educating community members about the benefits of solar and facilitating the solar purchasing process.

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Why have so many members of our community already decided to install solar on their rooftops? Some have done it for its environmental benefit. Others have gone solar for the financial advantages of saving money on utility bills and earning additional income from selling their renewable energy certificates (SRECs). Still others have installed rooftop solar to improve their home value and help protect their roofs.

DC SUN ran a Ward 2 solar co-op a couple of years ago, in which several Burleith residents participated. Thanks to this community’s strong historical support for solar, DC SUN decided to focus its next co-op specifically on the Burleith, Hillandale, and Georgetown communities. After speaking with local residents about their experience with and interest in solar, I decided to help launch this initiative to help interested community members navigate this process together.

If you're interested in learning more about solar or this solar co-op, please attend the Tuesday, March 28, information session sponsored by DC SUN at Georgetown Neighborhood Library at 6:30 pm. Links to RSVP for the session can be found on the co-op web page and on the Burleith website calendar. (The first session was held on Wednesday, February 22, and attended by about two dozen people.)

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If you already know that you want to install solar on your rooftop, you can use the co-op web page to sign up to join the co-op. Signing up to join the co-op is free and does not bind you in any way to purchase and install solar, although you should be fairly certain that you want to pursue solar for your property. Once you join the co-op, you’ll have the expertise of DC SUN to guide you through the process, the opportunity to connect with other local solar owners, and the ability to participate in the selection committee that decides which solar installer the group will use. Once the group chooses an installer, each individual homeowner will work directly with the installer to determine the specifics of your system.

If you have any questions about this co-op, please feel free to reach out to me at gmiller31@gmail.com, or to DC SUN at solarteam@dcsun.org.