The Solar Community initiative, the first nationwide bulk solar purchase program launched today to give homeowners across the US and Canada easy access to more affordable, clean, renewable energy – one of the most effective actions individuals can take to address climate change. The initiative, facilitated by the World Wildlife Fund and managed by Geostellar, presents a new approach to purchasing, financing and installing solar panels at a uniform discounted price to anyone in the US.
Developed in concert with 3M, Cisco, Kimberly-Clark and the National Geographic Society, the initiative gives employees of these companies, their friends, families, and communities across the country access to solar power for their homes at a flat rate that is on average 35% lower than the national average and roughly 50% less expensive than the average electric utility rates. This means that the American homeowner can have solar panels installed for zero money down, with average monthly savings on their utility bill of over 30% – all of which could make clean energy an easier choice for more American homes.
Conceived as an employee benefits program, the initiative brings large companies together to leverage the bulk purchasing power of their substantial aggregate employee base, their families, and communities. This allows for significant discounts and increased savings that enables widespread adoption of solar energy across all 50 US states and several Canadian provinces. The offer will start as a benefit to more than 100,000 employees of the participating companies; if one percent choose to power their homes with solar, more than 74,500 metric tons of carbon emissions would be avoided each year – the equivalent of taking more than 15,000 cars off the road.
“This takes the bulk purchase model from individual neighborhoods and organizations to a national scale,” said Keya Chatterjee, senior director of renewable energy at WWF. “A coast-to-coast, low, flat rate helps mitigate two major barriers of solar adoption — complexity and price — making it possible for more American families to save the planet without leaving their homes.”
Geostellar, the winner of a competitive bidding process and recipient of a US Department of Energy SunShot Initiative Incubator award, will coordinate all aspects of the program. Geostellar will run the online solar platform and manage the financing, design, permitting and installation processes for individual homeowners. All installations will be performed by qualified contractors based in the purchasers’ local community, further increasing the local economic benefits of the program.
“We are partnering to take sustainability to a whole new level by making solar power more financially accessible for tens of thousands of our employees across the US and Canada,” said Gayle Schueller, 3M’s vice president of global sustainability. “The initial employee feedback has been very positive. I’m proud that our efforts to be more environmentally sustainable are extending beyond 3M to the homes and lives of 3Mers.”
“We are pleased to offer our US and Canada employees a renewable energy alternative to cut their own electric bills,” said Ali Ahmed, manager, Cisco Global Energy Management and Sustainability. “By extending the benefits of affordable solar energy that we have as a corporation to our employees and other stakeholders, we are multiplying our sustainability impact.”
As part of WWF’s ongoing support of Sustainable Cleveland 2019, a community-wide initiative to transform Cleveland into a green city on a blue lake by the 50th anniversary of the last Cuyahoga River fire, Geostellar also announced today “Solarize Cleveland,” a Solar Community program for Northeast Ohio. Sustainable Cleveland is a multi-sector initiative founded by Mayor Frank G. Jackson that encourages broad leadership and collaboration in sustainability, including the transition to a renewable energy economy.
New organizations and individuals that join the Solar Community initiative will increase the combined bulk purchasing power of the aggregate participant base. Companies, municipalities, schools, clubs and other organizations can establish their own Solar Communities on the Geostellar platform to expand access to affordable solar for employees, residents or members.
“We’re thrilled to provide our first-of-its kind marketplace that makes the solar experience simple and convenient for the employees and communities of these pioneering companies,” said David Levine, CEO of Geostellar. “Homeowners everywhere can simply type in their address and see instantly how much solar can save them on their electric bills and increase the value of their homes with no upfront costs or out-of-pocket payments.”
Until the end of the year, Geostellar is extending the group purchase discount to any US homeowner through the use of the special promotional code: “solarmojo.”