07/13/2011 03:12 pm ET | Updated Sep 12, 2011

Solar@Work: San Francisco Unveils Groupon-Style Solar Purchasing

Forget pedicures and yoga classes. San Francisco is getting serious about group buying with Solar@Work, an aggregated purchasing program for solar panel installation, launching today.

The innovative program pairs the San Francisco Department of the Environment with local businesses and San Mateo's SolarCity, and aims to get at least 20 companies in on the buy to help ease the seemingly exorbitant pricing of solar panel installation. According to SFGate:

"(The program) will give companies the option of purchasing the panels outright, leasing them for lower upfront costs or taking out a loan," said Melanie Nutter, head of the Department of the Environment. "Businesses can also take advantage of a federal grant that covers 30 percent of solar installation costs through the end of the year," Nutter said.

Discounts range depending on the project, but average estimates are in the hundreds of thousands, meaning buyers can save more than just power. According to environmental blog Keen For Green, money is a huge deterrent from going solar:

SF Environment found that San Francisco commercial property owners cite high upfront costs and insufficient financing as the biggest roadblocks which stop them from installing solar.

Hopefully, with the Solar@Work program, the road will be clear for San Francisco businesses and solar power.