The Dernogalizer

September 20, 2009

Local Co-Ops help you go Solar

Filed under: Energy/Climate — Matt Dernoga @ 12:14 pm
Tags: ,

I thought I’d share a good article from the Washington Post about how being part of a local Co-Op can help you get solar without hassle and at a discounted price. ¬†Excerpts below.

“People said: ‘I don’t know if I could do this. I don’t have the time.’ I said we could all do it together; we could all go solar,” said Ryan, a former policy analyst at the Environmental Protection Agency who now teaches art at Sidwell Friends School.”

“Common Cents negotiates discounts from installers, fills out paperwork, applies for rebates, bundles solar credits, helps with scheduling and even arranges to get house keys to let in contractors. Homeowners sign contracts with and make payments to Common Cents, which then pays the contractors. The co-op helped Helen Price, a resident of the town of Chevy Chase, install an array of Sunslates, which resemble regular slate shingles but actually function like solar panels.”

“About 10 more solar installations were completed earlier this month. Schoolman and Morley expect nearly 50 homeowners to install rooftop solar pieces this fall. The co-op claims that its 50 solar-powered homes will cut carbon emissions by 6.7 million pounds over the panels’ expected 25-year life span.”

“You need about 10 households in order to get enough interest from installers where you might be able to get a price advantage,” said Fred Ugast, who heads the SREC broker U.S. Photovoltaics in Frederick. “There is not a lot of room now for discounts. A glut of panels has reduced hardware pricing.”

Lisa Heaton and her family were looking at a $45,000 install job for their total 4.6-kilowatt systems, but they got a $40,000 quote and signed a contract for it through Common Cents in November 2008.

“Then because of the power of the co-op,” the price dipped to the $35,000 she paid in April, Heaton said. Fliers from a solar installation company now promise that system for less than $32,000.”

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