The Austin Chronicle

Pitching in on Solar Panels

RECEIVED Mon., Jan. 28, 2013

Dear Editor,
    Did you ever look into getting solar panels and find them too expensive? Or is your roof too shady? Yes to both for me. But there is another way.
    Solar co-ops are springing up all over, even in sunny Minnesota. This is a way for ordinary people to invest in panels that may not be on their house but still provide energy, often along with serious financial savings. The idea is to find a site nearby that is ideal, and then pitch in for a panel or two within a large group. Various models have been tried, and the ones that cooperate with the local utilities tend to be the most successful (no surprise there). Organizations like Colorado’s Clean Energy Collective appear to be getting it right.
    Solar prices are dropping. In the next couple of years “grid parity” will be achieved in California and New York (that’s when solar becomes as cheap as average residential electricity). Austin is a co-op kind of town. We should be doing this too.
Chris Jones

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