Cheaper by the Dozen: Solar Group Purchase Programs

5-9i-f9K6ssq-M-6Neighbors all around the country are getting together and going solar as a group. You can too!

NEWS YOU CAN USE: Solar Group Purchasing

5-9groupHave you ever saved money by buying in bulk at Costco? People all over the country are buying solar in bulk and saving money in the process.

Called “solar bulk purchase, “solar group purchase,” or “Solarize,” these programs help groups of homeowners or organizations purchase solar systems together. Typically, the group selects a single contractor to install systems on each of their homes, but each participant owns their own system and signs their own contract with the installer.

Bulk purchases are often better than going it alone because participants can save money, thanks to economies of scale.  For example, about 30% of the cost of a residential system is the cost to installers of finding customers. If a group is able to present an installer with a set of pre-screened customers, the installer can pass that 30% savings onto customers.

Another advantage of a group purchase is that it is easier to navigate the process of getting solar bids, and dealing with permits, state agencies, and your utility, since you have the support of other group members throughout the process.

TOOLS YOU CAN USE: Organize A Group Purchase in Your Community

Join an ongoing bulk purchase program in your community, or start your own program!

5-9Slide1To find a program in your area, check out our list of bulk purchase programs around the United States.

Can’t find a program in your community? Help start one! This page also includes information and instructions for starting your own community bulk purchase. All it takes is finding a few neighbors who are interested in going solar!


Delivering Solar: Group Purchasing is Driving Down Costs for Customers
This article from the National Renewable Energy Lab gives a basic introduction on the bulk purchase concept and outlines different models used groups around the country.

The Solarize Guidebook
This guidebook from the U.S. Department of Energy walks residential homeowners through the process of organizing a solar bulk purchase.

Purchasing Power: Best Practices Guide to Collaborative Solar Procurement
A best practices guide designed to assist commercial and government entities in executing a collaborative solar purchase.



5-9NWSEED_small_JPGNorthwest SEED

Northwest SEED empowers community scale clean energy through technical support, community education and practical implementation to help communities achieve their sustainability and economic development goals.

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