Houston mayor touts program for group buying power with solar panels

Shelley Childers Image
Tuesday, December 6, 2022
Houston mayor touts solar energy program Texas Solar Switch for group buying power with solar panels for homes and businesses
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Let the sun pay your bills with a new solar energy program called Texas Solar Switch.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Let the sun pay your bills. That's the message behind a new solar energy program touted by the City of Houston, called Texas Solar Switch.

Daniel Cohan, an environmental engineer professor at Rice University, has purchased solar panels twice for his home.

"The economics have changed a lot since I first started looking at solar," Cohan said.

The second time, he joined a co-op through Solar United Neighbors to buy panels in bulk at a reduced price.

"They take out all the leg work from you. They go out and interview and take bids from perhaps 10 or 20 different solar installers," Cohan said.

Now, the City of Houston is taking that co-op concept to new heights with a program through Solar United Neighbors called Texas Solar Switch Houston.

Speaking at a press conference Monday, Mayor Sylvester Turner said he hopes thousands of people and small businesses will band together.

"To provide an easier way for Houstonians to aggregate their purchasing power and save on installation costs," Turner said.

The Texas Solar Switch program is a partnership with Solar United Neighbors, a non-profit, and iChoosr, an independent group buying specialist.

"By going solar as a group through Texas Solar Switch, participants can expect to save between 15 to 20% over going solar on their own, while receiving additional support through each phase of the process," Hanna Mitchell, the Texas Program Director for Solar United Neighbors, said.

The program hopes to make going solar more enticing by saving homeowners time and money.

"They find who's most reputable, who has the best craftsmanship and who can give the lowest price and they negotiate a group price for you and then you decide if you actually want to go forward with that or not," Cohan said.

Texas Solar Switch Houston is not limited to just the city. Homeowners and small businesses across the area can sign up to save.

There is no cost to register and no obligation to move forward after getting a quote.

The Inflation Reduction Act that passed earlier this year increased the tax credit to 30% for solar and extends it for another 10 years.

Cohan says on average his electricity bills are down to about $50 a month.

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