Houston Launches Citywide Solar Co-op to Celebrate First Anniversary of the Houston Climate Action Plan
On the one-year anniversary since the release of the Houston Climate Action Plan, Mayor Sylvester Turner and the nonprofit group Solar United Neighbors (SUN) today announced the launch of Houston’s citywide solar co-op that will help Houston residents go solar – advancing a major goal of the Houston Climate Action Plan (CAP).
“As we celebrate Earth Day, I’m proud to welcome this community-driven initiative for local rooftop solar and thank Solar United Neighbors for being such a strong supporter of the Houston Climate Action Plan,” said Mayor Turner. “I encourage Houstonians to take full advantage of this opportunity to learn more about the benefits of residential solar and how they can take part. Bulk buy programs like this will help our city meet our energy transition goals and grow local investment in renewable and resilient energy.”
Released on Earth Day 2020, the Houston Climate Action Plan is a science-based, community-driven strategy for Houston to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, meet the Paris Agreement goal of carbon neutrality by 2050, and lead a global energy transition. In October 2020, Houston City Council officially adopted the CAP and committed to annual GHG reporting and updating the CAP at least every five years. The City’s 2020 GHG inventory is planned to be released later this summer.
An update on the implementation of Resilient Houston and the Houston Climate Action Plan is available here: Rice | Kinder Institute Resilience and Climate Progress in Houston.
Growing Houston’s investment in renewable and resilient energy is a major goal of the Houston Climate Action Plan. The City of Houston is the nation’s largest municipal user of renewable energy in the US and met the CAP goal of powering municipal operations with renewable energy five years ahead of schedule. The Houston region is one of the fastest growing regions for solar in the country. According to Environment Texas, Houston’s installed solar capacity has quadrupled from 2018 to 2020. Similarly, the Houston Permitting Center saw a 63% increase in solar installation permits from 2019 to 2020. SUN’s citywide solar co-op will directly support the CAP target of generating 5 million MWh from local solar projects per year by 2050.
“The co-op will enable homeowners and business owners in and around the city of Houston to join the growing community of people taking control of their energy bills and improving grid resilience by harnessing solar power,” said Hanna Mitchell, Texas program director for SUN. “Together, we’re building a movement to transform our electricity system into one that is cleaner, fairer, and shares its benefits more broadly.”
SUN’s city-wide solar co-op is open to homeowners and business owners in and around Houston. Co-op members will select a single solar company to complete the installations following SUN’s facilitation of a competitive process to select an installer. Joining does not obligate members to purchase solar. Members will have the option to individually purchase panels and electric vehicle chargers based on the installer’s group rate.
Since 2018, SUN has hosted six small scale solar co-ops in areas around Houston including Spring Branch, Lake Olympia, East Houston, Central Houston, the Woodlands, and West Houston. With the City’s support, this will be the first time a solar co-op will be available to all Houstonians, city-wide. SUN is collaborating with local non-profits including South Union CDC, Houston Sierra Club, TX Interfaith Power and Light, and the Houston Renewable Energy Group to spread word about the solar co-op.
According to SUN’s estimates, solar co-ops in Texas provide 569 kW of solar power, $1.64 million in local economic investment, and more than 18.4 million lbs. of lifetime carbon offsets.
Individuals interested in learning more about the citywide co-op can register or attend one of the upcoming information sessions at www.solarunitedneighbors.org/Houston.
Thursday, May 6, 2021 at 6:30 p.m. CT
Wednesday, May 19, 2021 at 12:00 p.m. CT
About Solar United Neighbors
Solar United Neighbors is a nonprofit organization that works in Texas 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.