Solar for All
posted by: Katie K.
Imagine driving down your street. You look up and every home proudly displays solar panels. Does this seem like a dream from the far-off future? Not if Sungevity has anything to say about it. Through its accessible technology platform and leasing system, this B Corp has become one of the fastest-growing residential solar providers in the country. From 2009 to 2010, the company expanded the capacity of its installed solar panel systems tenfold. To date, Sungevity has sold solar to more than 1,000 homes.
“Sungevity’s goal is to mainstream solar and bring it to millions of homes across the United States,” founder Danny Kennedy says.
Two interrelated innovations might help Sungevity achieve its goal. First, Sungevity’s systems are designed, sold and engineered remotely, both online and over the phone. This eliminates time-consuming and costly site visits, creating an average savings of 10 percent compared to the competition.
Second, Sungevity leases the panels to customers, eliminating the barrier of upfront capital costs. Customers pay a fixed monthly fee that, even when combined with their traditional utility bill (for night use or times when the home uses more energy than the panels are producing), creates significant and immediate savings for a majority of Sungevity’s customers. Kennedy likes to call it “saving money by saving the planet.” As Sungevity offers lease systems for no money down to those with good credit, it brings solar to households that could not otherwise afford it.
Sungevity has also created numerous “green- collar” jobs. More than 100 people are directly employed in its Oakland, Calif. office, where they design, sell and manage solar installation projects. The company subcontracts with up to 200 installers across the country in its preferred installer network. This creates valuable jobs in multiple communities.
This B Corp is committed to bringing solar to every family. Who better to set an example than the First Family? Teaming with a variety of organizations, Sungevity launched its “Solar on the White House” campaign. The petition gathered more than 50,000 signatures, and in October, the White House accepted the challenge. The Obamas will acquire solar panels this spring.
Sungevity’s mission is daunting, to be sure, but its innovative approach may just bring solar panels to your neighborhood next.