Solar United Neighbors (SUN), a nonprofit organization that works in Florida and nationwide to represent the needs and interests of solar owners and supporters, recently announced the launch of the Hillsborough County Solar Co-Op to help Tampa area residents go solar.

The announcement came via a series of videos posted to SUN’s Florida Facebook group. Each video features a local leader or solar homeowner expressing support for the solar co-op and touting the benefits of going solar. The videos can be viewed on SUN’s YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VZaizF9arXU&list=PLaEmRYYKCqLjXleWzfEahEJ1MjLAW-dmD.

The co-op is free to join and open to homeowners and business owners in Hillsborough County. Together, co-op members will learn about solar energy and leverage their numbers to ensure competitive pricing and quality solar installations.

“The co-op will enable Hillsborough County homeowners and business owners to join the growing community of people saving money by harnessing solar power,” said Julia Herbst, Gulf Coast program coordinator for Solar United Neighbors. “Together, we’re building a movement to transform our electricity system into one that is cleaner, fairer and shares its benefits more broadly.”

After a competitive bidding process facilitated by SUN, co-op members will select a single solar company to complete the installations. Joining the co-op does not obligate members to purchase solar. Instead, members will have the option to individually purchase panels and electric vehicle chargers based on the installer’s group rate.

Partnering on the co-op are: Hillsborough County, League of Women Voters of Hillsborough County, Environmental Protection Commission of Hillsborough County, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, Tampa Bay Sierra Club, Solar and Energy Loan Fund (SELF) and Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council.

“Forty years from now, the sea level here (in Tampa Bay) will be 40 inches higher than it is now, and that is the moderate projection,” said Kent Bailey, chair of Sierra Club. “There’s something you can do about that. SUN is showing homeowners how to install affordable, residential rooftop solar that pays for itself in just a few years.”

SUN has hosted 55 solar co-ops in Florida since 2015. According to its estimates, the 1,717 homes and businesses that now have solar panels because of co-ops represent 16,000 kW of solar power, $36.8 million in local solar spending and more than 551 million lbs. of lifetime carbon offsets.

SUN will host a webinar to launch the solar co-op and provide free information to members of the public.

The webinar is scheduled for Tuesday, July 21 at 6 p.m. It is open to anyone who is curious about going solar with the co-op. Register for the webinar at https://coops.solarunitedneighbors.org/coops/hillsborough-2020-solar-co-op/events/.

After this webinar, SUN will host several additional webinars to educate community members about solar energy and the co-op.

Individuals interested in going solar can learn more and sign up free for the co-op at https://coops.solarunitedneighbors.org/coops/hillsborough-2020-solar-co-op/.

For more information, visit www.solarunitedneighbors.org.