Today my organization SmartPower, in partnership with The Connecticut Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority (CEFIA) released a groundbreaking report on Residential Solar Power. Indeed, as you review "Let's Solarize" you will understand why we think we may have cracked the code on residential solar.
Over the past several years SmartPower has been working to advance the widespread adoption of residential solar power in the United States. Our goal has been to significantly reduce the cost of solar so that it makes sound financial sense and homeowners no longer have to choose between caring about the environment and caring about their pocketbooks. We also want residential solar to work "in the marketplace" and not be dependent on the political whims of state legislatures, utility commissions and others. Working in partnership with CEFIA we have been running pilot community "Solarize" campaigns to test our program's model.
The results have been astounding. In only 20 weeks we were able to more than double the amount of solar in these communities than over the previous seven years.
This report reveals a way to reduce the "soft costs" of solar and make residential solar power attractive not just to those who are naturally inclined to alternative energy sources but also to those who simply want to stabilize their energy costs.
Our results include:
- In only 20 weeks - and in every Solarize community -- the rate of adoption for residential solar installations was between 24 and 64 times greater than the previous seven years. In one town, during this same 20 weeks, installed capacity more than quintupled.
- The average Solarize customer saved approximately7500 on their system when compared to current market averages.
- More than 2 Megawatts of new solar photovoltaic capacity was deployed across the four communities, close to triple what was installed in those towns during the preceding seven years.
- Compelling drops were realized in customer acquisition costs - with "all in" costs of approximately135 per kilowatt (kW), which is significantly less than both the industry average of670/kW (per U.S. Department of Energy analyses and local installers' estimates of250-500/kW).
- About 20% of those choosing solar under this model had never thought about acquiring solar power before.
To say this least, this is an exciting program. We are continuing to implement Solarize programs, and are now testing new variations of the model in conjunction with Yale University and New York University through a grant from the Department of Energy. We look forward to sharing those results with you as they become available.