BEMIDJI-Bemidji residents are coming together for a solar power project, and are doing so with assistance from Solar United Neighbors, or the SUN.

In collaboration with Bemidji State University's sustainability office, Security Bank USA, Harmony Foods Co-op and Clean Energy Resource Teams, locals are partnering on a rooftop solar bulk purchase group, or a cooperative. The group is seeking participants and will host an informational meeting on the subject at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 12.

"The co-op is free to join and not a commitment to purchase panels," said SUN Communications Director Ben Delman. "What happens is, by working with our partners, we'll recruit a group between 20 and 40 homeowners to learn about solar energy and then once the group is large enough, we work with group participants to develop a request for proposals from area installers."

SUN is a nonprofit "dedicated to representing the needs and interests of solar owners and supporters," their website says.

Delman said once an installer is selected, that company will create a proposal for each co-op participant. At that time, the participant can decide if they want to go solar based on what they're being offered. By going solar as a group, Delman said participants can save on the cost of going solar.

"This event is a great opportunity to come together and learn more about solar in our community, from local members and experts in the field," BSU's Assistant Sustainability Director Anna Carlson said in a press release. "There are so many options for residents and businesses to consider when interested in pursuing solar. It is therefore really helpful to advance our understanding and highlight unique opportunities such as bulk buying options."

According to Delman, SUN operates in nine states and just recently started working in Minnesota. So far, they've worked in the metro, Rochester and now Bemidji.

"We're an organization that works to educate people about solar power and help them go solar, creating a community of solar supporters," Delman said. "We see ourselves as a third-party advocate for homeowners in the process of getting solar."

A press release from SUN states that the organization has worked with more than 100 solar cooperatives and have helped an estimated 2,700 homes go solar across the nation.

The informational meeting will take place at Beltrami Electric Cooperative, located at 4111 Technology Dr. NW. For more information, residents can click here.