Group launches ‘Solarize Davis’

By August 4, 2011

A new solar power group has been established in Davis to solve the No. 1 market barrier to mainstream solar panel installation: cost.

Spearhead Solar recently launched “Solarize Davis” to accelerate the adoption of residential solar projects in Davis. So far, 30 people have become members. By utilizing group purchasing power, similar to the popular group deal website Groupon, Davis homeowners will be able to collectively bargain down the price of solar panels, a news release said.

Founder Daniel Parrella hopes to sign up 150, and with PG&E’s high electric prices, he says it is very doable.

“Davis homeowners have the most expensive electricity in the state, PG&E residential rates rose by 52 percent in the past decade, (and) people are looking into solar so they can stabilize their electric bill,” Parrella said in the release.

The “Solarize Davis” group deal borrows from other group deals like it, especially ones in Oregon. The successful Solarize Portland group resulted in 120 installations at below-market pricing. By mobilizing the community, Portland was able to triple the number of residential installations and create jobs, as well as jumpstart the demand for solar throughout the Portland metropolitan area.

Davis already has almost 250 installations. Spearhead Solar hopes to not only add about 30 installations to that number, but also “increase awareness about the financial sense that solar makes.”

According to the California Solar Initiative, the price of solar has decreased from $10.14 per watt to $8.30 since 2009.

While Parrella admits that is an impressive drop, he says, “We can still do better. By buying as a group, we can drop the price tag closer to $7 a watt. At that point, solar becomes a solid, no-risk investment.”

Once “Solarize Davis” has 50 members, the group will begin negotiating with contractors and select the company with the best installation record and the best group-deal prices.

Members are eligible for a free estimate. The contractor will appraise members’ homes to determine the cost of installing solar panels, with the group discount included.

To become a member, or for more information, visit www.SpearheadSolar.com.

Special to The Enterprise

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