BCA Partners on Solar

 Sam Polino of DC SUN introduces the co-op to community members attending the March 28 session.

Sam Polino of DC SUN introduces the co-op to community members attending the March 28 session.

By Greg Miller and Ann Carper

On March 28, about 20 local residents crowded into a room at the Georgetown Neighborhood Library for the Georgetown-Burleith Solar Co-op’s second information session. Sam Polino, the director of Solar Co-ops at DC SUN, and Greg Miller, a local resident who has been helping lead the initiative, presented on topics including solar system design, the permitting process, and the options for financing your system. Coming into the session, many residents had heard about solar from their friends and neighbors, and were curious to see if solar might be right for them. Many left the info session excited about the various benefits that solar can provide, and more confident that going solar can be a straightforward process under the expert guidance and community support available through joining the co-op.

Also on March 28, the Burleith Citizens Association board voted to partner with the co-op to help promote solar in the community. BCA is the first community organization to "officially" partner on the Georgetown-Burleith solar co-op; the Georgetown BID and Georgetown Business Association have been also been promoting the initiative for local businesses. As a community partner, the BCA is helping promote the new co-op through outreach, publicity, and ongoing engagement. “Our new partnership reinforces the Board’s commitment to creating a sustainable neighborhood,” said BCA president Eric Langenbacher. In 2015, the BCA helped DC SUN organize and publicize a solar information session for an earlier co-op, which over 20 Burleith residents joined.

The next step for this co-op, once it reaches a size of about two dozen community members, is to submit its request for proposals for local solar installers to bid on the project. In the past week, the co-op grew to about half that size and is expecting to move forward and issue their RFP soon.

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As explained during the March info session, signing up for the co-op does not require any financial or legal commitment to ultimately go solar; it just means that you are seriously considering installing solar on your roof and would like DC SUN’s help in navigating the next steps. By signing up now, you can help grow the group to the size needed to issue the Request For Proposals sooner, and you can choose to participate in the installer selection committee.

If you are interested, you may sign up on the co-op web page. This flyer, handed out at the recent information session, also summarizes some of the benefits of solar and this co-op. You may also sign up to subscribe to DC SUN’s monthly newsletter and listserv. The newsletter keeps the District’s community of solar supporters up to date on the latest solar news, announces new solar co-ops as they form, and provides updates about DC SUN’s work. The listserv is an online forum for solar supporters in DC, from solar industry experts to people considering solar for the first time. Through the listserv, district residents discuss a range of solar topics and post articles and inquiries for each other.