With full support of the City of Cedar Rapids and Linn County, the MREA is hosting a solar group buy in Linn County, Iowa. The advantage of a group buy is the power of volume purchasing, which can significantly reduce the up-front costs of installing solar on your home. You do not need to live in Cedar Rapids to participate – the group buy is open to all Linn County homeowners.
Dozens of solar group buys have been completed across the country in cities like Portland, Milwaukee, Madison, and Chicago, and in states from California to Vermont. Among all of them, there have been some common elements that led to success: competitive contractor selection, community-led outreach with a trusted community partner, and a limited-time offering.
Competitive Contractor Selection: Solarize Cedar Rapids & Linn County’s advisory committee is comprised of representatives from the MREA, City of Cedar Rapids and Linn County. They issued a competitive Request for Proposals and selected a single installer to help carry out the program. This way customers get the simplicity of a single installer, plus the confidence that the selection was made from a number of competitive choices.
Community-Led Outreach: The program would not be possible without the strong support of the City of Cedar Rapids, Linn County and other local organizations. Are you part of a neighborhood association, nonprofit organization, school, or workplace that is excited about solar? Help us get the word out by distributing flyers or hosting a Solar Power Hour! Email to get started.
Limited-time Offering: Nothing motivates people like a deadline. Participants have until September 30 to decide whether to go solar. Installations will take place throughout the program. The time-sensitive nature of the group buy adds urgency into the mix, and helps bring the price down for everyone. How? Read on.
The key ingredient for most participants is the pricing for the group buy. The competitive bidding process ensures the program achieves a price per watt lower than any individual would generally be able to get on the market. In addition, the price comes down for everyone when certain benchmarks are surpassed. The base price for the program starts at $2.45/W. At each benchmark we reach as a group, the pricing for the entire program comes down an additional $.05/W: 50 kW, 150 kW, 250 kW and 350 kW.
Pricing offered through the Solarize Cedar Rapids and Linn county Solar Group Buy is not guaranteed to be the least expensive rate for all solar arrays. Larger solar arrays may be able to achieve stand-alone economies of scale that allow for a lower overall cost. Individuals should consider all their options before signing a contract.
How is a solar installer able to offer such low prices through the program? There are two important factors: strong customer education and an economy of scale.
Strong Customer Education: Crucial to the success of the program is the community outreach and education we do. The MREA, a 501(c)3 nonprofit that does training and education around renewable energy, works with local organizations to schedule and facilitate a number of 1-hour-long Solar Power Hours around the community. These events help interested homeowners determine whether solar is right for them. We’ll go over the basics of solar, financials, how to tell if your site is ready for solar, and how to participate in Solarize Cedar Rapids & Linn County. Getting well-informed participants to the table saves the installer hours and hours of marketing and education they would otherwise have to do themselves, and in turn saves you money.
Economy of Scale: Just like in a buyers club or co-op, the more people participate, the lower the cost is for the service provider (in this case, a solar installer), and the lower the prices are for participants. Your participation matters, and it always helps when folks talk to their friends and neighbors about the group buy.
ABOUT THE INSTALLER
Moxie Solar was founded in 2008, by Jason Hall, as an energy efficiency consulting company. Their home office location in North Liberty is just minutes south of Cedar Rapids and Linn County. To better serve Solarize Cedar Rapids and Linn County participants, they have a Cedar Rapids location at 1202 3rd Street, SE, Suite 103. A group of solar fanatics, they “Moxie Up” every day to meet the challenges of a renewable energy future. From concept to completion, Moxie Solar will:
- Design your solar array and submit the application to interconnect to the utility companies.
- Construct your solar array with a NABCEP certified installer.
- Connect your solar array to your home and utility with Master Electricians
- Submit, and track, your state of Iowa tax credit application (Federal Tax Credit is simpler)
“Moxie Solar is proud to partner with MREA to bring affordable solar energy to homeowners and businesses throughout Cedar Rapids and Linn County. We look forward to sharing our passion for solar energy through this tremendous partnership” said Jason Hall, Moxie Solar Owner/CEO.
Now that you’ve become familiar with how the program works, the next step is to become informed about purchasing solar. Click here to view the schedule for our upcoming Solar Power Hours and updates about the program. At the Solar Power Hour, we’ll get more specific about the basics of solar and pricing. We’re excited to meet you and get started!