A new cooperative hopes to grow more solar power and electric vehicle use in northwest Indiana.
The non-profit organization Solar United Neighbors launched the Northwest Indiana Solar + EV Charger Co-op for homeowners and businesses in LaPorte, Porter and Lake counties. Members can take advantage of the strength of numbers to reduce the costs of installing solar panels and charging stations for electric vehicles.
“Electricity costs in the area are high and rising, and more Hoosiers are turning to solar energy to save money,” said Zach Schalk, director of the Indiana program at Solar United Neighbors. “Through the solar cooperative, we will teach homeowners and businesses how solar energy works and how it can benefit them and their communities.”
Cooperative partners include Michigan City Sustainability Commission, Northwest Indiana Green Drinks, NWI Region Resilience, 219 Green Connect, Citizens Action Coalition, Earth Charter Indiana, Hoosier EVA, Hoosier Environmental Council, Hoosier Interfaith Power and Light, South Shore Clean Cities and the Hoosier Chapter of the Sierra Club.
Membership of the cooperative is free and members are not required to purchase solar energy. They will, however, have the opportunity to purchase solar panels and electric vehicle charges at a group rate after the cooperative chooses a solar company to do the installations.
Solar United Neighbors has already launched five solar cooperatives in other parts of the state. More than 50 homes and businesses have invested more than $ 1.37 million in solar panels that generate 446.1 kW of solar energy and around 16.4 million pounds of lifetime carbon offsets.