Consumers band together to negotiate less expensive bulk pricing on solar equipment and installation fees for their homes from suppliers and contractors.
Can be facilitated by low-cost, easy options for incorporation/organization, and simple ways to distribute potential tax credits and incentives to members. Provision of technical assistance can also accelerate group purchasing.
Provides a small-scale community building process that models a more cooperative economy, and potentially provides a framework for continued organizing around green energy polices.
Risk & Drawbacks?
Participation is limited to homeowners with access to money to invest in solar installation. Residential solar regulatory climate and financial context is in flux; difficult to compete with more prevalent leasing options which require less initial money down.
SDC Solar United Neighborhoods (DC SUN) has been helping start ward-level purchasing groups for solar energy installs since 2013, aiding hundreds of District residents to go solar and build community in the process. The umbrella organization structure makes it easier to replicate efforts in new neighborhoods by leveraging accumulated knowledge, and provides a platform for other energy activism.