Bright idea? Co-op helps home and business owners determine whether solar energy is a good fit

YORK COUNTY, Va. (WAVY) — Friday was a sunny day in Hampton Roads, just like three out of every five days throughout the year. People who are converting to solar are leveraging that fact to save money and help the environment.

The science of solar appeals to homeowner Gwyn Williams, a scientist himself. He powers his 1850 farmhouse in Yorktown with 21st century technology.

“There’s $100 worth of energy that lands on that roof every month from the sun, so the question is, can you harvest it?” Williams said.

For him, the answer to that question was the co-op known as Solar United Neighbors. That’s where he learned about solar, finding an installer, and the new meaning for the term “purchasing power.”

“They can gather about 60 customers at once, so you get volume discounts on panels,” Williams said.

Williams used to pay $5,000 a year for heating oil

Read More

Google partners with COOP Career to help small business launch digital storefronts on Shopify

The effort could earn Google some goodwill in the city at a time when lawmakers at both the local and federal front have pushed for stronger antitrust enforcement against the company and fellow tech giants Amazon, Apple and Facebook.

Angela Pinsky, a senior government affairs manager for Google, said the program fits within its Grow With Google campaign for small businesses.

“As an organization, we are trying to figure out how we can be most helpful to these small businesses that are quickly pivoting online,” Pinsky said.

The company is reaching out to city agencies, chambers of commerce and business improvement districts to find applicants, she said.

Google said it will pay the COOP graduates $20 per hour for the length of the program, which includes 30 hours of training on Shopify and Google products.

Shopify—an Ontario-based company with a market cap of more than $100 billion—is not otherwise involved

Read More