Sustainable Columbus, Solar United Neighbors and Area Regional Partners, Announce Columbus Area Solar Co-op
Co-op expands solar opportunities for Columbus area residents in alignment with the Columbus Climate Action Plan
Today Sustainable Columbus and partners announced the launch of the Columbus Area Solar Co-op. The solar co-op is an opportunity for Columbus area homeowners to learn about solar energy and have a system installed on their homes, while supporting Columbus’ climate and equity goals
“We must protect the health of Columbus neighborhoods for generations to come, which we can do by dealing with the effects of climate change already impacting our most vulnerable residents,” said Mayor Andrew J. Ginther. “Local solar supports our Columbus Climate Action Plan goals, can reduce energy bills and brings green job opportunity into Columbus for residents in our opportunity neighborhoods.”
The co-op is free to join, and joining is not a commitment to purchase a system. Once the group is large enough, Solar United Neighbors will submit a request for proposals to local solar installers. Installers will submit bids and co-op members will review each bid, ultimately selecting one installer to serve the group. The chosen installer then develops individualized proposals for each co-op member. Members can then decide if going solar is right for them. Solar United Neighbors works with co-op members throughout the process, educating them about solar and ensuring their installation goes smoothly.
“Our climate is changing," said Councilmember Remy. "Columbus is doing our part to face climate change head-on. Helping our residents add solar to their roofs is a critical part of our strategy. We are proud to collaborate with Solar United Neighbors to help residents add rooftop solar to their homes and businesses."
The nonprofit Solar United Neighbors (SUN) is partnering with Sustainable Columbus, IMPACT Community Action, Simply Living, and MORPC to host the solar co-op opportunity.
"Climate change threatens the health and safety of our central Ohio community, and it will take strong regional partnerships to successfully combat it," said Bexley Mayor Kessler. "The solar co-op is a great example of those partnerships and helps our residents go solar. Going solar helps our communities reduce carbon emissions and our economy to grow, combating the climate change that threatens us."
Solar access also creates more good-paying solar jobs for hard-working Ohioans. Solar United Neighbors has hosted two solar co-ops in Columbus since 2020. Through those efforts, 200 residents learned about solar energy, and 30 families now have solar panels because of a solar co-op. Those homeowners represent 229.86 kW in total solar installed size, 23765.25 metric tons of carbon offset, and $540,171 of local economic investment. The 2022 Columbus Area Solar Co-Op, through its partnership with IMPACT Community Action will connect the Empowered! clean energy jobs training program with the selected installer for mentorship, training and apprenticeship or job opportunity.
"I believe solar energy is important because as time passes, it is important for us to make sure we are using resources that do not hurt the Earth,” said Ras Jahlani Ben-Levi, an Empowered! program participant. “I want to improve the quality of life for those around me and in my community, so I think preparing people for the future with solar panels is a part of that journey to better my community."
Last month, the Ohio legislature passed Senate Bill 61 (SB 61). The bill makes it easier for Columbus to reach its goal of having 50 MW of rooftop solar installed by 2030. The legislation supports this goal by preventing HOAs from imposing unfair restrictions on homeowners who want to go solar. The bill allows previously denied homeowners access to solar, bringing in more revenue and jobs to Ohio. Many Columbus area residents living in HOAs can go solar in the solar co-op.
"As a homeowner residing in an HOA, I know personally the hardship homeowners had to go through to get solar,” said Mryia Williams, Ohio Program Associate for Solar United Neighbors. “We had to jump through several hoops to go solar, but the new law makes it easier for homeowners."
SUN will host several free information sessions to educate community members about solar energy and the co-op. Individuals interested in going solar can sign up for the co-op or one of the upcoming information sessions on the co-op web page.
Informational meetings are scheduled for:
● Thursday, July 14 at 6:00 p.m.
● Monday, July 25 at 5:00 p.m.
● Friday, August 5 at 12:00 p.m.
● Tuesday, August 16 at 5:00 p.m.
Sustainable Columbus is the City of Columbus’ sustainability initiative committed to bold action on climate guided by equity and environmental justice. The work is guided by the Columbus Climate Action Plan, providing a roadmap for the Columbus community to reach carbon neutrality by 2050 and reduce emissions by at least 45% by 2030. Through the work, Sustainable Columbus seeks to create an equitable, healthy and thriving future for residents in the City of Columbus. To learn more visit www.Columbus.gov/sustainable .
Solar United Neighbors is a nonprofit organization that works in Ohio 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.