DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – The City of Dayton, Montgomery County and several community organizations announced the launch of a solar power co-op at Gem City Market Friday. It’s part of a larger effort to reduce the carbon footprint in the Miami Valley.

Both the City of Dayton and Montgomery County have set goals to be more sustainable. One way they’re doing that is by making solar energy more affordable and accessible.

“We are really trying to reduce our carbon footprint,” Montgomery County Commissioner Carolyn Rice said.

The Miami Valley Solar & EV Charger Co-op would allow people and businesses to join together, buy-in to a solar power company and cut some of the cost to have the system installed.

“To have both the county and the city on board, along with the NAACP helping us to get the word out and just make sure everyone has the knowledge so they’re prepared to do the right thing and live a more sustainable life by putting solar panels on their roofs,” Tristan Rader, program director for Solar United Neighbors of Ohio, said.

The solar co-op is just one of the efforts happening locally.

“We just as a county actually adopted a sustainability plan just within the last few months, but we have been working on the Dayton Regional Green Initiatives for five or six years,” Rice said.

The Dayton Regional Green Initiative‘s Bring Your Green challenge has measured reduction of 12.5 million tons of CO2 into the atmosphere in the five years since it started.

In 2020, the City of Dayton set a goal for the city to use 100% renewable energy by 2035 and advocate for sustainable energy options for residents.

“These sorts of opportunities that Solar United is going to provide are going to work hand-in-hand with our efforts to make sure that we’re getting everyone together, there’s a big push toward renewables,” Dayton City Commissioner Matt Joseph said.

Dayton Unit NAACP President Derrick L. Foward said the solar co-op is a step toward equitable access to renewable energy.

“One of our primary focuses is environmental justice and climate justice, so at the end of the day for us, to see this in a collective of people who came together that’s supporting energy initiatives, I think it’s awesome,” Forward said.

Already more than 30 people have signed up for the Miami Valley Solar & EV Charger Co-op. There will be several online information sessions with the first set for March 16th. To learn more, click here.