Member Stories

Neighbors Head Online to Form Solar Co-Op

Written by Anne Dreshfield

For many neighbors, undergoing a major process like installing solar panels can take months, if not years, to complete. For some, it’s too daunting to even begin.

That was true for one neighbor in East Boulder, Lisa Hering. She was overwhelmed by the amount of information available on solar panels, and she and her husband were hesitating to make a decision on installing them for their home.

“Then, we saw a post by a neighbor on Nextdoor,” Lisa remembered.

That neighbor, Kristi Celico, had posted to Nextdoor asking if anyone in the community was interested in looking into a more cost-effective solution for solar energy.

Soon after, a small group of a half dozen families came together, formally creating the East Boulder Solar Coalition.

The group has made good progress examining all of the available information on solar panels for the community. Over the course of a year, the group researched companies and options, eventually narrowing down their list to companies who would allow discounted group pricing model for solar energy. After multiple rounds of interviews and proposals from companies, East Boulder Solar Coalition found their company.

The company that won the bid was Custom Solar, a Boulder-based company that had been in operation for 10 years. The East Boulder Solar Coalition planned a meeting for residents to meet other neighbors interested in solar panel installations, as well as to meet representatives from Custom Solar.

The proposal was simple: the graduated discount depended on the number of interested households in the East Boulder Solar Coalition. Neighbors who joined could receive a 2.5 percent discount on installation. As more neighbors joined the Coalition, the discount would gradually increase up to 8 percent.

“Custom Solar is excited about this unique experiment between a community group and our company,” said Willie Mein, the owner of Custom Solar. “This is unique in that it’s totally grassroots. We think it may provide an interesting model for other communities to consider.”


Join your neighborhood on Nextdoor here.

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As originally covered by Colorado Hometown Weekly.

Header image courtesy of Matthew Jonas.

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