New citywide co-op allows Houstonians to get discounted solar panels, rates

Mayor Sylvester Turner press conference
A new citywide co-op allows Houstonians to get discounted solar panels and electricity rates (Courtesy City of Houston).

A new citywide co-op allows Houstonians to get discounted solar panels and electricity rates (Courtesy City of Houston).

Houston residents can now join a citywide “solar co-op.” The method allows residents to order solar panels as a part of a bulk purchase which reduces the price of both the panels and installation while also securing the lowest possible electricity rate.

“Bulk buy programs like this will help our city meet our energy transition goals and grow local investment in renewable and resilient energy,” Mayor Sylvester Turner said at a news conference April 21.

The city of Houston partnered with nonprofit Solar United Neighbors to facilitate the program. The organization serves as a liaison between homeowners who wish to join the co-op and solar panel companies looking for customers interested in discounts offered through a group order. Solar United Neighbors also vets companies for quality of service. Prospective members have until July 31, 2021 to join the citywide co-op. Anyone who joins is not obligated to purchase solar panels but maintains the ability to do so in the future at the same group rate that the co-op secures, according to a city news release about the initiative.

Residents interested in joining the citywide co-op can attend upcoming information sessions.

May 6, 6:30 p.m.


Registration: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_fLTApbdRTJyyFc6BVORzjg

May 19, noon

Registration: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_n5l-4jaoS7uZwPuC0HgSFQ

Prior to Turner establishing the citywide co-op, several small-scale co-ops were organized by groups of residents throughout the city via Solar United Neighbors. The neighborhoods include Central Houston, Spring Branch, East Houston and West Houston.

The citywide co-op is part of Houston's Climate Action Plan, which, in April 2020, established a series of sustainability goals for the city. Among them, the city aims to go carbon neutral by 2050.
By Emma Whalen
Emma is Community Impact Newspaper's Houston City Hall reporter. Previously, she covered public health, education and features for several Austin-area publications. A Boston native, she is a former student athlete and alumna of The University of Texas at Austin.