The Mayor’s Office of Resilience and Sustainability (MORS) and the nonprofit group Solar United Neighbors (SUN) announced the launch of the 2022 Houston Solar Co-op. The co-op will help area property owners install rooftop solar and battery storage systems. The announcement comes in the days following the one-year anniversary of Winter Storm Uri.
“Houston’s energy transition is a community-wide effort,” said Mayor Sylvester Turner. “The solar co-op is a great way for Houstonians to take part and learn about solar energy to determine if it’s right for their families, small business, or non-profit. We are excited to again partner with Solar United Neighbors for this effort. As Chair of Climate Mayors, I encourage everyone to understand the importance of renewable energy sources as we build towards a more resilient and sustainable future.”
This is the second city-wide solar co-op that SUN has coordinated in collaboration with the City. The solar co-op will help property owners go solar and contribute to local investments in renewable and resilient energy. These are important components of our Resilient Houston strategy and Climate Action Plan. Last year’s co-op attracted nearly 300 members.
“More and more Houstonians are turning to solar and battery storage for self-sufficiency, which has the added benefit of making our grid more resilient,” said Hanna Mitchell, Texas Program Director for Solar United Neighbors. “Together, we’re building a movement to create a more sustainable electricity system that directly benefits households and small businesses in the community, while reducing strain on the grid.”
Last year, Winter Storm Uri hit Texas with a one-two punch. The state’s electricity grid failed as temperatures dropped below freezing and electricity demand skyrocketed. At the same time, the storm damaged critical energy supply infrastructure. The result was large-scale blackouts that had devastating consequences on the health and safety of people across the state. During the storm, solar and storage proved resilient. Adding more solar energy will ease the strain on the electric grid that future storms could cause.
The co-op is free to join. Joining is not a commitment to purchase panels. It is open to homeowners and business owners, as well as churches and other non-profit groups in Houston. Together, co-op members will learn about solar energy and leverage their numbers to purchase individual solar systems at a discounted group price. Members have the option to individually purchase panels, batteries, and electric vehicle chargers based on the installer’s group rate.
SUN has hosted 10 other solar co-ops in Texas since 2018. According to the group’s estimates, homes and businesses that now have solar panels because of co-ops represent: 1.35 MW of solar power, $1.7 million in local economic spending, and nearly 20,000 tons of lifetime carbon offset.
Along with community partners including Greentown Labs, Houston Renewable Energy Group, South Union CDC, local chapters of the Sierra Club, Citizens’ Climate Lobby, and Interfaith Power and Light, SUN will host several free informational webinars to educate community members about solar energy and the co-op. Individuals interested in going solar can sign up for the co-op or one of the upcoming information sessions at the www.solarunitedneighbors.org/houston.