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Rethink Energy: Arlington Goes Solar

This is the first post in a two-part series. The second post will focus on the Potomac Solar Co-op, currently open for Arlington residents interested in purchasing solar at a discount rate. For now, past is prologue. 

Solar has been the energy source of the future for decades. Since at least the 1990s, we’ve all been waiting for solar panels to make the one last technological breakthrough that makes it cost-competitive. It’s always been a few years away.

Wait no longer, folks. Solar is here.

At the end of 2014, Virginia SUN launched a solar co-op in Arlington, offering residents a chance to purchase solar panels as a group. Arlington’s Initiative to Rethink Energy and Arlingtonians for a Clean Environment helped support and promote the co-op, which ran through most of 2015.

A solar co-op works using the principle of bulk purchasing. Customers were able to purchase their solar panels at about a 30% discount compared to going it alone. The solar systems themselves cost less than half of what they would have just 5 years ago. Virginia SUN also provided guidance throughout the entire process – we’re all frustrated when contractors give confusing information or we feel overcharged.

Ultimately, nearly 300 Arlingtonians had their roofs screened, and of the 130 or so good candidates, 34 folks ended up installing solar systems. With their panels in place, Arlington’s solar co-op participants are reaping the benefits of lower (or nonexistent) electricity bills and a lighter carbon footprint for years to come.

If interested, enter your information near the bottom of this page to have your roof screened for solar panels. Also, check back in a two weeks for part two of our series on solar.

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