Preparing for solar co-op

Staff Report

GALLIPOLIS — Neighbors in the Ohio Valley area have formed a solar co-op to save money and make going solar easier, while building a network of solar supporters. OVEC, the Marshall University Sustainability Department, the League of Women Voters, Ohio Interfaith Power and Light, WV SUN, and OH SUN are the co-op sponsors.

The group is seeking members and will host an informational meeting on Tuesday, July 18, at 6 p.m. The meeting will be held at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Gallipolis (541 Second Avenue, Gallipolis, OH 45631) to educate the community about solar and the co-op process.

“It is St. Peter’s great joy to be able to sponsor this program for the Gallia County community, said Rev. A.J. Stack. “As people of faith, we believe that everything and everyone God has created is filled with goodness; it is our responsibility to care for and heal the world around us.”

OH SUN and WV SUN expand access to solar by educating West Virginia and Ohio residents about the benefits of distributed solar energy, helping them organize group solar installations, and strengthening Ohio’s and West Virginia’s solar policies and their communities of solar supporters. OH SUN and WV SUN have helped more than a dozen communities across their states develop solar co-ops. Collectively the programs helped create or sustain seventy solar jobs last year.

“I am excited to work with Gallia County residents to help them learn about solar and how affordable it has become,” said Luke Sulfridge, OH SUN Program Director. “The co-op is a great opportunity to help create new jobs in the region while making each homeowner more self-sufficient.”

Ohio Valley area residents interested in joining the co-op can sign up at the co-op website. The co-op is open to both Ohioans and West Virginians across the Ohio Valley area. Joining the co-op is not a commitment to purchase panels.

Co-op members selected Solar Holler out of West Virginia through a competitive bidding process. The installer was selected in part due to a training program that is retraining former coal miners to perform the installations.

Homeowners and small businesses have the option to purchase panels individually based on the installer’s group rate. By going solar as a group and choosing a single installer, participants can save up to 2 percent off the cost of their system.

Staff Report