Neighborhood co-ops are the building blocks of DC SUN. The co-ops organize DC neighbors around solar, advocate for solar policies, and work on projects and initiatives relevant to each community.
Some co-ops organize bulk purchases to help their members save money when going solar, others host panels and events, advocate for pro-solar policies in DC, or help your school go solar. Co-ops are a support system and bring people together around solar energy, what your co-op works on specifically depends on your community.
If you are interested in promoting solar in your community, the best step is to join or organize a solar co-op to make things happen. Check out our list of existing co-ops and contact us if you don’t see a coop in your neighborhood. Co-op leaders do not need previous experience with solar, just enthusiasm to make things happen.
What co-ops do
- Hold regular meetings and identify solar projects or initiatives that your neighborhood wants to develop.
- Work on specific projects to bring solar to your school or church, organize a bulk purchase, or plan an event, etc.
- Advocate for policy.
- Help people who want to go solar.
- Support solar education and outreach efforts in DC.
- Communicate with other neighborhood organizations and groups to expand your reach as a neighborhood coop.
- Communicate with your elected representative on the DC Council on issues important to our success and invite them to solar events in your community.
For more information on starting a neighborhood co-op, and the volunteer roles with DC SUN, check out our DC SUN Volunteer Handbook.
If you are interested in organizing a solar co-op, contact us and we will help you.
Things to think about when starting a co-op
Some key components to start your co-op include:
Outreach – Start by telling your neighbors and friends. Talk to people, recruit people and ask them to tell their neighbors. Flyering, posting in neighborhood listservs and writing on blogs are all good ideas; you know your neighborhood best. Additionally, DC SUN has a listserv where you can post and get resources, tips, and contacts to start your co-op.
Education – Hold a meeting, concert, or other event with solar speakers where you educate your neighbors about solar and how it relates to your community to rail interest for your co-op. Members of DC SUN are happy to come speak at events.
Communication – Establish an email, listserv, or other group communication method to stay in touch with your group.