Solar United Neighbors (SUN) has extended the sign-up deadline for its Westmoreland County Solar Co-op to June 30.

“The co-op launched with in-person events and has been progressing online during social distancing—with free webinars and video conferencing,” said Henry McKay, Pennsylvania program director for SUN. “We want to make the co-op available to as many people as we can, and now that installations can be completed as pandemic restrictions relax, we’re excited to see the co-op grow even more.”

Solar installations and other construction projects have been allowed to resume in Pennsylvania since May 1, more than six weeks since Gov. Tom Wolf ordered all non-life-sustaining businesses to cease operations because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“Solar energy is good for people and communities,” McKay said. “Co-op members can be proud knowing that the local business generated by their choice to go solar will help to boost our local economy as it recovers from the effects of the pandemic.”

The co-op is free to join and open to homeowners and business owners in Westmoreland County. The group currently has 40 members, six of whom have already signed contracts to go solar.

Together, co-op members learn about solar energy and leverage their numbers to obtain a group rate for each member’s solar installation. Through an open and competitive bidding process, co-op members selected Groundhog Solar to be the group’s installer.

SUN has adapted these co-op activities tied to the virus:

  • In-person informational events were moved online;
  • The co-op’s volunteer selection committee met via Zoom to select a solar installer;
  • SUN has been communicating closely with the installer and with co-op members to share updates and safety protocols.

According to the governor and the Pennsylvania Department of Health, solar installers in Pennsylvania must adhere to certain health and safety requirements while on the job site, including wearing masks, maintaining 6 feet of social distancing where possible, and allowing no more than four crew members on site at once.

Individuals interested in joining the solar co-op can learn more at the co-op web page.

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