Solar co-op opens signups
Sedona residents and businesses can sign up for the 2023 Northern Arizona Solar Co-op program through the nonprofit solar advocacy group Solar United Neighbors until Friday, Jan. 12.
“The solar co-op is open to residents of Yavapai County who are in or adjacent to the city of Sedona,” SUN communications associate Hannah Arndt said. “This includes Sedona, West Sedona and Oak Creek. Residents just outside of Sedona in rural Yavapai county are also welcome to join the co-op.”
“Solar United Neighbors — the nonprofit behind this co-op — has already launched over 15 solar co-ops in Arizona since 2019, helping over 500 households across the state install rooftop panels; in fact, our previous co-ops in this area helped over 100 Coconino County households go solar,” SUN organizer Seth Newmeyer said.
The co-op works by allowing customers to band together to purchase solar installations in bulk, saving them money, reducing hassle and increasing their knowledge of the solar installation process.
“We help people go solar, join together and fight for our energy rights,” Arndt said. “One of the main things we do is we help people go solar through solar group buys, which is what the Northern Arizona solar co-op is. Volunteers from the solar coop help select the installer. We facilitate a volunteer meeting so those co-op members get to select the group installer. Afterwards, everyone receives an individualized proposal from that installer that includes the group rate.”
Solar United Neighbors is vendor-neutral, so the installers bid on the co-op and the organization simply facilitates the process for members to choose the installer, Arndt explained.
“This co-op will help the city of Sedona meet its climate goals,” Sedona Sustainability Manager Bryce Beck said in a press release. “The 2023 Northern Arizona Solar Co-op is a unique opportunity for Sedona residents to participate as part of a collective to help reduce emissions, improve solar accessibility and reduce utility costs.”
“I got into it last year [when] I put a 5.6 kW system on my house,” Sedona resident David O’Donnell said. “I re-signed again this year because I might be adding a few [kilowatts] and adding a battery hook-up to the system. … The prices were super reasonable compared to when I had regular contractors come out because they were buying in bulk. It worked out well for me. My system, not counting the rebate, was about $16,000, [whereas] five years ago, that would have been $30,000 to $32,000.”
Arndt said that at current Arizona Public Service electric rates and the current average co-op pricing for a system, it will take “around 10 years to break even with a cash purchase” for a solar system.
Solar United Neighbors’ next public information session will take place at Mother Road Brewing in Flagstaff on Tuesday, Nov. 14, at 6 p.m. This will be a hybrid event and interested parties can also join via Zoom.
“It’s about an hour-long presentation where we walk you through solar financing, solar technology, the economics and then answer questions,” Arndt said. “Then we talk about the solar co-op process. Afterward, we get folks together for [a] social event and more informal discussion.”
For more information or to register for the information session, visit solarunitedneighbors.org/northernaz.