Group Buy Solar Program Lowers the Cost of Solar Energy

The San Jose Credit Union has partnered with the San Jose Solar America City program to offer a program to city employees in which they can join together to negotiate betters costs for solar electric and solar thermal installations on their homes no matter where they live.

The San Jose Employee Solar Group Buy program allows city employees and retirees to purchase systems with a group discount.  So far 130 people are participating.  The group has reportedly achieved one of the lowest group buy pricing schedules for the value of the product to date for both photovoltaic and solar thermal systems.

SunPower Corporation and SunWater Solar were selected by a seven-member volunteer evaluation committee through a competitive bid process to provide systems for the group.  The vendors will work with participating homeowners through their dealer networks to perform site assessments to determine the correct size and design of the photovoltaic and/or solar thermal system.

Installations will take place between September of 2010 and February of 2011. The San Jose Employee Solar Group Buy program aims to install solar electric and solar thermal systems on more than 130 homes, adding over 300 kilowatts of new solar electric capacity throughout the Bay Area.

Similar programs are available in other areas of the country including Portland Oregon where neighbors band together to get group discounts.  This model takes the idea a step further, allowing large groups of organizational employees that are members of a well-respected local credit union to utilize financing tools to go solar no matter what city they live in.

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