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News & Views of Phillips Since 1976
Thursday February 22nd 2024

Twin Cities Area Solar Co-op Makes Rooftop Solar More Affordable

By BOBBY KING, MN SUN State Director

Jessica Tank and partner Royce, Minneapolis Solar Co-op members and City of Lakes Community Land Trust homeowners, LMI program participant

Nonprofit Solar United Neighbors (SUN) helps Twin City Area homeowners of all incomes go solar with the Twin Cities Area Solar Co-op. The solar co-op will help homeowners:

  • Understand the benefits of rooftop solar and the incentives available
  • Allow them to use group buying power for a great price and service from a solar installer
  • Help low-income homeowners tap into incentives that can cover a majority of the cost

How SUN’s Solar Co-ops Work.
The solar co-op is free to join. SUN has an open-and-competitive bidding process with local solar installers for the group’s business. A committee of co-op members and SUN staff reviews bids and selects a single solar company for the group’s business. All members then get a proposal for solar at their property from the selected installer at the solar co-op price. There is no obligation to go solar.

Online Solar 101’s are scheduled for Thur., Jan 18 at 6:30 p.m. and Tue., Feb. 13 at 6:30 p.m.
These will cover the basics of solar technology, the economics of solar, and how members save money on a vetted solar installer.

Incentives to go solar available.
The Federal Solar Tax Credit allows homeowners to take 30% of the cost of going solar as a credit against federal income taxes owed. Minneapolis homeowners will be able to take advantage of the city’s Green Cost Share program. This innovative city program requires 20% of homeowners in the group-buy to be low-income or live in one of the city’s Green Zones. SUN ensures this goal is met. This incentive pays on average between $800 to $3,000 towards the cost of solar. [Editor’s note: The entire Phillips Community falls within the Southside Green Zone.]

Newly expanded incentives can make rooftop solar possible for low-income homeowners.
Last December the Minnesota Department of Commerce enacted dramatic improvements to the Income Qualified Solar Rewards program. This incentive program helps low-income homeowners in Xcel territory go solar. Improvements include making it easier to prove income eligibility and increasing the incentive payment. In addition, the solar co-op negotiates with solar installers to allow low-income homeowners to pay a small refundable down payment.

SUN has been helping neighbors join together and go solar since 2013. Around the country, SUN has completed 412 solar co-ops, helping more than 8,500 people go solar, including 190 low-income homeowners. In Minnesota, SUN has helped 248 people go solar.

Learn more and sign up for a webinar or the Twin Cities Solar Co-op at www.solarunitedneighbors.org/twincities.


Click on the “Events” tab under the picture of a solar homeowner to sign up for the webinar. You can also contact Bobby King, MN SUN State Director at 612-293-7267 or bking@solarunitedneighbors.org.

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