Worcester Co-Op Selects Installer For Solar Projects

BERLIN – Selection committee members of the Worcester County Solar Co-op have chosen Sustainable Energy Systems to be the group’s solar panel installer.

Members of the co-op’s selection committee worked with Maryland Solar United Neighborhoods (MD SUN) to send proposal requests to panel installers in the area.

The Frederick, Md.-based business went against seven other installation companies to submit the lowest bid after the co-op began looking for installers Aug. 1.

The co-op is not requiring its members to use Sustainable Energy Systems, but will receive a discount if they choose to use the company for home installation projects.

The price of the installation is based on individual estimates for each member’s home.

The discounted amount will not be disclosed to the public because of agreements between the installer and the co-op, according to Ben Delman, communications manager for Community Power Network, MD SUN’s founder.

However, MD SUN estimates that solar panel users will save more than $9,000 on average in installation costs when they join a co-op, after a 20-percent installation discount and 30-percent renewable energy credit.

By winning the bid, Sustainable Energy Systems will lower costs and save co-op members money.

Delman says the selected installer reduces customer acquisition and bulk ordering costs by working with the co-op.

Worcester County’s co-op is composed of members who have joined the group in hopes of educating themselves on the benefits of solar power and the steps they should take to go solar.

The Town of Snow Hill, the Assateague Coastal Trust and MD SUN supported the local co-op after it formed at the end of June, according to Assateague Coastal Trust (ACT) Executive Director Kathy Phillips.

From there, ACT helped MD SUN establish public outreach meetings in Snow Hill.

“Assateague Coastal Trust has a vision for a more sustainable coastal watershed through less polluting by means of energy production,” Phillips said. “Private installations of more affordable solar energy systems through community co-ops are one way to work towards that goal, and it was a great experience to partner with MD SUN and help them connect to residents in Worcester County.”

Since June, the co-op has taken in more than 20 members, the minimum membership requirement needed to propose a bid, Phillips says.

The local co-op created a selection committee and made a list of requirements the residents were looking for in the installer’s proposal, according to Delman.

The selection committee then voted on the bids and selected Sustainable Energy Systems.

“It is an honor to be selected by the homeowners of the co-op,” Sustainable Energy Systems Sales Director Ryan Nichols said in a press release. “We are eager to help more people go solar in Worcester County by providing quality panels at a good price.”

The co-op is taking in members until Dec. 31, Delman says. Those residents who join before the deadline can receive the discount.

“The deadline is meant to encourage people to sign up for the group,” Delman says. “It is almost like a sale. The price is good through December. The benefit of the co-op is to help [members] understand the technology. It’s not the most complicated thing. But it’s good to have peace of mind knowing you are working with a trusted installer and fellow community members.”

Worcester County is one of seven counties in the state to form a co-op with the help of MD SUN.

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

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Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.