Vote Solar’s GroupEnergy project is focused on propelling solar adoption by helping existing groups – think coworkers, clubs or congregations – pool their collective purchasing power to go solar at home. Our unique take on the group purchase model helps build solar awareness and lower solar soft costs in one fell swoop.
Looking back on a busy 2013, we’re happy to report that it was a great year for GroupEnergy! The team was busy launching programs in Northern California and Colorado. These programs helped more than 2,000 people evaluate whether powering their homes with sunshine could be a good fit. In our view, this educational component is one of the most exciting outcomes of a GroupEnergy project. These are peers and friends who are navigating the potentially daunting process of going solar together – with our expert guidance. Whether or not they end up going solar now, program participants come away armed with the information they need become solar educators and advocates in their own right.
And all told, approximately 900 kilowatts of new residential solar will be installed on almost 200 homes as a result of this year’s GroupEnergy work. That’s nearly a megawatt! It doesn’t just sound cool – that’s a whole lot of new residential solar in just a few months. And, because buying in bulk delivers greater scale and lower customer acquisition costs to solar providers – that’s also solar with a low price tag.
Here are some highlights from 2013:
San Francisco SunShares
Major employers in San Francisco offered GroupEnergy programs as an employee benefit that also that supported sustainability and corporate social responsibility program goals. Participating organizations included: the City and County of San Francisco, Blue Shield of California, eBay, Genentech, Pacific Gas & Electric, and UCSF.
875 employees took part in the program, learning about San Francisco’s climate goals and their home’s solar potential along the way. Over 460 kW of solar capacity was installed, which will generate enough clean energy to avoid 8.3 million lbs of CO2 emissions — the equivalent of taking 785 passenger vehicles off the roads. The program secured solar pricing of $3.80/watt installed, 20% less than average residential installation costs in San Francisco at the time.
Solar Benefits Colorado
Multiple local governments, the State and Colorado Federal Executive Board participated in the Colorado program. Despite natural disasters and the shut down of the Federal Government slowing down the program, Solar Benefits Colorado engaged almost 650 employees who contracted more than 300 kilowatts of new residential solar capacity in 4 months. The program was able to achieve pricing at $3.18/watt or 20% below the market installation cost.
We’re excited about all that was accomplished this year, and look forward to more GroupEnergy success as we plan for new programs, new locations, and new soon-to-be solar customers in 2014.