Working together five New England States in the Clean Energy States Alliance (CESA) have produced "Planning and Implementing a Solarize Initiative: A Guide for State Program Managers” to help states developing successful solar group-purchasing programs. The guide comes from the New England Solar Cost-Reduction Partnership, which consists of Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont, and was established with DOE SunShot Initiative Rooftop Solar Challenge II program funding.
The first group-purchasing program was launched in Oregon in 2009. Group-purchasing programs have been instrumental in helping homeowners in cities and towns lower the cost of solar panels by allowing the contractors to access larger orders to bring down the costs of materials. As more homeowners participate in the group purchasing program, the cost goes down further under a tiered pricing plan. Basically a group-purchasing program has four components: tiered pricing based on participant volume, community outreach, competitively chosen solar installers and a limited-time component.
The guide focusses on two well-developed and successful Solarize programs, those in Connecticut and Massachusetts. “The guide will be helpful to program managers and other stakeholders in states across the country seeking to develop their own Solarize programs,” CESA said.
The guide highlights at least three of the ways that the states’ Solarize programs have been successful. Firstly it expands the potential customer base. “In Connecticut, 20 percent of households who signed a contract for a new solar PV system through the Solarize CT program had never previously considered installing solar,” CESA stated.
Solarize programs also help speed deployment, according to the guide. “In Massachusetts, the number of small-scale solar projects more than doubled in the vast majority of participating Solarize communities as a result of the program,” CESA said. And in Connecticut during its Solarize program’s first phase participating municipalities saw the rate of solar installations rise by 24 to 65 times the rate during the prior seven years. The guide also touts how in Connecticut the solarize program lowered solar prices between 20 to 30 percent for customers.
The guide is available online at http://www.cesa.org/resource-library/resource/planning-and-implementing-a-solarize-initiative-a-guide-for-state-program-managers.Tweet