“I love having a solar array on my house for too many reasons to name,” said John Bachmeier, member of the Escambia-Santa Rosa Co-op that launched in 2019. “But let me give a few: I love to provide clean, renewable energy for my family and my neighbors when I overproduce. I love being part of the solution to climate change rather than just talking about it. I love being an example for my kids of sustainable living. I love seeing the electric meter running ‘backwards’ on sunny days and knowing my neighbors are benefitting from my panels. I love hearing my 92-year-old mom say how neat it is that when we go somewhere in my EV, we are driving on sunshine.”
“The co-op will enable Pensacola homeowners and business owners to join the growing community of people saving money by harnessing solar power,” said Julia Herbst, Gulf Coast program associate for Solar United Neighbors. “Together, we’re building a movement to transform our electricity system into one that is cleaner, fairer, and shares its benefits more broadly.”
The co-op is free to join and open to homeowners and business owners in Escambia County. Together, co-op members will learn about solar energy and leverage their numbers to purchase individual solar systems at a competitive price and top quality. After a competitive bidding process facilitated by SUN, which remains vendor neutral, co-op members will select a single solar company to complete the installations. Joining the co-op does not obligate members to purchase solar. Instead, members will have the option to individually purchase panels and electric vehicle chargers based on the installer’s group rate.
“The City of Pensacola strives for the highest quality of life for all citizens,” said Mark Jackson, Sustainability Coordinator of the City of Pensacola. “We are continuing these efforts by partnering with SUN to provide cost-saving solar at an affordable rate, create a healthier environment, and grow our local economy.”
SUN has hosted 69 solar co-ops in Florida since 2015. According to the group’s estimates, the 2,102 homes and businesses that now have solar panels because of co-ops represent: 20.5 thousand kW of solar power, $47.9 million in local solar spending, and more than 698.6 million lbs. of lifetime carbon offsets.
SUN will host several free virtual information sessions 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 co-op web page: solarunitedneighbors.org/pensacola.
Solar United Neighbors is a nonprofit organization that works in Florida and nationwide to represent the needs and interests of solar owners and supporters. Solar co-ops are part of the organization’s mission to create a new energy system with rooftop solar at the cornerstone. Solar United Neighbors holds events and education programs to help people become informed solar consumers, maximize the value of their solar investment, and advocate for fair solar policies.