DG Solar at farm 1

JoAnn Coates-Hunter is shown in the barn at Fox Haven Farm and Learning Center, which has solar panels mounted on the roof. Frederick-based Sustainable Energy Systems installed the panels.

Homeowners and small businesses have an additional three months to sign up for Frederick County’s solar co-op.

The county Office of Sustainability and Environmental Resources has extended the deadline to sign up for the co-op from Feb. 28 to May 31.

As of Wednesday, the co-op had 128 interested participants and 14 individuals had signed contracts to install solar panels, according to an email from Corey Ramsden, program director for MD SUN.

The co-op is being overseen by the county and MD SUN, a regional program of the Community Power Network, which promotes locally based renewable energy policies and projects. Frederick County’s co-op is open to homeowners, small businesses and organizations such as churches.

“Things have picked up since the start of the new year with 9 out of 14 homeowners moving forward since January,” Ramsden wrote in the email. “We’re looking forward to even more homeowners taking advantage of the group’s educational support and discounted pricing in the next few months.”

The co-op selected Sustainable Energy Systems in November as the solar contractor to evaluate and install the arrays. One of the benefits of a co-op is reduced installation costs, because the contractor knows a certain amount of business will be coming.

Sustainable Energy Systems, a Frederick company, has been awarded similar contracts in Arlington, Virginia; Washington, D.C.; and Worcester County, Maryland.

Each project receives its own proposal and financing options. Joining the co-op does not lock an individual into signing a contract.

More information about the co-op will be available at the Frederick County Building Industry Association Home Show on March 18 and 19 and the Green Neighbor Festival on May 20 and 21. The county will host a webinar describing the co-op process on March 21 at 7 p.m.

People may send questions to Bonnie Griesemer in the Office of Sustainability and Environmental Resources at bgriesemer@frederickcountymd.gov.

Follow Samantha Hogan on Twitter: @SAHogan.

Samantha Hogan is the state house, environment, agriculture and energy reporter for The Frederick News-Post.

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