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Your Green Life: Solar Co-op open to residents, businesses across the Northland

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DULUTH, MN-- Looking to decrease your carbon footprint but don't know where to start? A new initiative wants to help.

The Solar Co-op recently launched in Duluth and serves as a tool to guide homeowners and businesses that are looking to switch to solar energy.

The co-ops are at the forefront of a movement in going solar. The process allows a group of neighbors to get together to negotiate a bulk purchase and save money.

The co-op is facilitated by the nonprofit Solar United Neighbors. The non-profit helps co-op members navigate the process, for free.

The co-op is working with One Roof Housing in Duluth to help low-income families go solar as well.

"Solar United Neighbors provides some technical assistance to them about whether or not their house is appropriate for a solar panel to be installed on top of it," said Jeff Corey, Executive Director of One Roof Housing. "If there is too much shade or if the roof would need to be replaced first."

One participant in the co-op said when looking to build a new home, he was searching for ways to transition to renewable energy.

Keith Peterson said the process was overwhelming, but with the help of the co-op, he was able to find the right solar array for his home.

"It's one of those things that seem relatively simple when you think about solar, but when you start looking into the details of different solar installations and different options it gets a little bit complicated. They were just great to kind of have by your side to guide you along," said Peterson.

Peterson has had his panels installed on his garage for over a year now. He said he and his family are happy with how they turned out.

Solar United Neighbors has hosted eleven solar co-ops in Minnesota since 2017.

The solar co-op is open to residents and businesses in the city of Duluth and surrounding St. Louis, Lake, Cook, Carlton, and Pine Counties.

You can find more information here.

Jessie Slater

Evening Anchor and Reporter

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