Head to solarizelinncounty.com to sign up for information about the program and see a list of upcoming Solar Power Hour dates.
Overview: Solar Group Buys are a tool for scaling solar deployment in a short period of time (June through September) and moving communities toward their sustainability goals. They work by:
- Aggregating demand for solar, which lowers solar prices for home and business owners.
- Providing up-front customer education, which lowers installer soft costs and leads to a higher-than-average conversion rate for solar leads.
Project Lead: Midwest Renewable Energy Association serves as project lead and is responsible for:
- The competitive RFP process that chooses one or more solar installers
- Coordinating 15-20 Solar Power Hours, educational events that maximize participation and education.
Solar Power Hours: The cornerstone educational event repeats 15-20 times June through September throughout the County during the Solar Group Buy campaign and teaches solar PV and solar group buy basics and fields questions.
- 15-20 Solar Power Hours across Linn County for the public to learn about the Solar Group Buy
- Process: Interested attendees schedule a site assessment with the Solar Group Buy Solar Installer, then are able to consider further and sign a contract based on the Solar Group Buy pricing if comfortable. Interested individuals are free to move forward with a different solar installer, though Group Buy pricing will not apply.
- Attendees at each Solar Power Hour include: Solar Power Hour Facilitator, Solar Installer, and Alliant Energy representative
Appeal of the Solar Group Buy: By coordinating a time-limited group buy with educational sessions that teach attendees about solar and provide professional resources, Group Buys are effective tools for quickly scaling home and business solar installments. A
- Price breaks: The competitive RFP process selects a reputable solar installer that commits to volumetric price breaks. Aggregating individual contracts, price breaks are rewarded to participants at 50, 150, 250, and 350kW.
- Solar Power Hours: 15-20 sessions provide solar education and professional resources in one place.
- Grassroots energy: With a 4-month window and participation milestones, Group Buys develop the energy of a grassroots campaign. Advertising includes yard signs, newsletters, social media, flyers, and word of mouth.
Partners: Several partners play unique roles in building the credibility and success of a Solar Group Buy:
- RFP Advisory Team:
- Ensures RFP language and process meets the community’s interests.
- Partners: MREA (project lead), City of Cedar Rapids, Linn County, Iowa 350, Resident
- Programming Team:
- Members of organizations with captive audiences that schedule and promote Solar Power Hours
- Partners: MREA, City of Cedar Rapids, Linn County, Iowa 350, Green Iowa AmeriCorps
- Organizations with captive and connected audiences whose brand adds credibility and wide appeal to Solar Group Buy and who help with promotions through social media, newsletters, and as desired