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Solar panels may become more affordable in the Borderland in the near future – find out how

EL PASO, Texas - On Wednesday morning in a news conference between the City of El Paso and Solar United Neighbors, the announcement was made about a new partnership between the two entities, and the launch of the El Paso Solar Co-op.

To join the new co-op is free, and you don't have to commit to buying solar panels when you join. Once enough people join who are planning on buying solar panels, the co-op will begin to collect bids from local solar panel companies. As a collective, one bid will be chosen to be the installer of all of the solar panels, and people can decide if they want to buy their own panels based on the installer's group rate. Ultimately, this will save money for customers looking at purchasing their own solar panels in the future.

Peter Svarzbein, who represents District 1 on the City Council, is proud to begin this collaboration. "This is an opportunity for us to take more of our opportunity to grow solar in our community, to increase solar adoption in our community to help this world and to help combat global climate change," he said.

The Texas Program Director of Solar United Neighbors, or SUN, explained more about the process, "our solar group buying programs work by bringing people together in a similar geographic area who are all interested in getting solar, and that way the group can leverage the numbers and the technical numbers from SUN to bring down both the cost and the hassle of going solar," Hanna Mitchell, said.

There is one downside to getting solar panels installed on your house or business- you'll still be required to pay a $30 monthly fee to El Paso Electric, simply for having the solar panels. That does not include if you'll be required to pay additional electric fees per month based on if your panels provided enough electricity or not. The upside is- El Paso is nicknamed the "Sun City" after all, due to the countless sunny days we have each year.

Mitchell continued to say, "the co-op process normally takes about 6 months from launch, from right now until installations are complete. During this time El Pasoans can sign up on our webpage at solarunitedneighbors.org and sign up for our public information sessions."

There will be two informational meetings- one on May 5 at 6 PM that will be held virtually, and one on May 12 at 6 PM that will be held in a hybrid fashion. You can find out more information by searching the link in the quote above, or by clicking the link below.

Nicole Ferrini, who is the City's Chief Resilience Officer, talked about how the partnership will also bring jobs to the region. "This is really about creating opportunity and jobs for our community in what can be known as the environmental economy," she said. She too is working extremely hard on promoting more sustainable energy here in the Borderland.

To get all of your questions answered, or if you are interested in joining the co-op group, click here.

Katie Frazier

Katie Frazier is an ABC-7 meteorologist and reporter.

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