By Bryn Baker, Manager of Renewable Energy at World Wildlife Fund
In the fight to reign in climate change, it’s easy to feel like any action we can take as individuals is just a drop in the bucket. You’ve changed your light bulbs and you’ve insulated your house, but it can feel like nothing next to the coal plant down the road sending millions of tons of CO2 a year into the air.
However, the largest slice of a typical American’s carbon footprint comes from the energy we use at home. Luckily, homes and businesses powered by solar are increasingly making a real impact: half a million are now powered by solar and every four minutes an American home or business goes solar.
The price of solar has plummeted 80% in the last few years, making solar not just one of the most impactful things we can do as individuals to halt climate change, but also something that can put a lot of money back in our pockets.
Now, through the Solar Communities Initiative, WWF together with organizations including 3M, Cisco, Kimberly-Clark, and the National Geographic Society, and solar provider, Geostellar, are making it easier than ever for homeowners across the US to get affordable, clean solar energy by launching the first nationwide bulk purchase discount on residential solar.
Bulk purchases and solarize programs have become a popular and effective tool for spreading solar in many communities. What’s different about this particular program is that the participating companies banded together to leverage the bulk purchasing power of well over 100,000 employees across the country. They're providing significant discounts not just to their employees, but to employees’ friends, families and local communities as well.
Through a competitive process, an initial group of companies selected Geostellar, an online solar marketplace, to run their individual corporate employee solar programs. 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 25-35% lower than the national average.
Ali Ahmed, a senior manager at Cisco in Cleveland, was the first person to take advantage of the program. “A few years ago the economics didn’t make any sense. But with the discount achieved through this program, I can justify doing it today. And I’m already seeing the savings show up on my utility bill,” Ahmed said.
The program is open to employers who may be interested in offering the discount to their employees. Courtesy of EarthShare, EarthShare supporters and partners can also get a solar quote directly using the bulk-purchase discount simply by going to: http://geostellar.com/go/earthshare.html?tc=earthshare.
Cities are also taking advantage of this platform as well. Sustainable Cleveland, WWF and Geostellar are now working with Environmental Health Watch to offer Geostellar’s bulk discount rate to over 1 million residents in the Cleveland area.
The technology is ripe and the price is right for solar, which means that more American families can save the planet without leaving their homes.
Want to learn how your employer can participate in the program? Contact Bryn Baker at firstname.lastname@example.org.