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Solar Panel Co-Op Invites Homeowners To Informations Sessions

photo of solar house
Paul Schroeder equipped his home with solar panels last year, and saved about $10,000 through the solar co-op over buying independently.

A Northeast Ohio co-op for homeowners interested in solar panels is holding information sessions this month, inviting people to join up and equip their homes for solar.

The Cleveland branch of Solar United Neighbors of Ohio held an open house Saturday at the Old Brooklyn home of member Paul Schroeder. He installed solar panels last year to offset increased electric bills from his geothermal furnace. And he found the price for solar panels through the co-op was about $10,000 lower than if he’d bought them independently.

“I’m a believer there’s two reasons you get solar. One is the cost savings. The second is esoteric. It’s gotta be, ‘Let’s reduce our carbon footprint. Let’s do renewables.’ Any group that can foster this is worth doing.”

Schroeder was also asked about his electric bills.

“It varies from month to month. Last October, it was $9 with the electric bill. In May, it was [negative] $17. ‘Do Not Pay.’ I figured it would take 10 years to pay it back.”

Other visitors to the open house said they were interested in the environmental benefits of the panels, but weren’t sure about investing in a home they may have to leave as they get older.

Solar United Neighbors of Ohio is working to form co-ops in several counties, which will then request bids from installers this summer. Two information sessions will be held next week.

The first is at the Maple Heights Senior Center, 15901 Libby Road on June 27 at 5:30 p.m.

The second is at the Lakewood Public Library, 15425 Detroit Avenue on June 28 at 6:30 p.m.

The co-ops being formed with coverage in Ohio are the Northeast Ohio branch, Cuyahoga County branch, Upper Ohio Valley and Eastern Kentucky.

Kabir Bhatia is a senior reporter for Ideastream Public Media's arts & culture team.