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Solar nonprofit launches new co-op in Lancaster

The co-op will allow homeowners, small businesses, and nonprofits to go solar together, while receiving a group discount.

LANCASTER, Pa. — On Wednesday, the City of Lancaster and local organizations teamed up with a nonprofit solar company to launch a new solar co-op, potentially bringing the power of the sun to more Lancaster County homes.

“The solar co-op is a way for a large group of homeowners, small businesses, and nonprofits to go solar at the same time," said Monica Carey, the Pennsylvania program director for Solar United Neighbors.

Solar United Neighbors is a nationwide nonprofit dedicated to setting up solar co-ops across the US. Carey said joining the co-op will allow neighbors to get a group discount on solar panels from vendors.

“Members get a good deal through the group rate, but they’re also the ones who are in the driver seat," said Carey.

“We saw the co-op coming in and said, ‘Wow, this is great. This is going to create real progress on the ground,'" said Tony Israel, who heads the Lancaster chapter of the Citizen Climate Lobby, one of several local organizations partnering with the co-op. 

Israel believes the co-op will allow people from all backgrounds to cut down on their carbon footprint.

“Imagine having solar on your roof, saving money, and charging your car from your roof," said Israel. "It’s kind of a no-brainer, I hope.”

Solar United Neighbors will be hosting several informational sessions to try and get as many people to sign up for the co-op. Carey hopes to get 100 people signed up by the end of July.

“The more people who join the co-op, the more competitive the installers are going to bid, and that means the more savings you’re going to see," said Carey.

The first co-op information session will happen Wednesday, March 8th at the Manheim Public Library.

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