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Clean Power Geostellar (geostellar.com)

Published on October 23rd, 2014 | by Sandy Dechert


“Solarmojo” For Solar Employee Benefits, 60-Day Discount For All Americans!

October 23rd, 2014 by  

WWF“Solarmojo” sounds a bit like fantasy, but using the term as a promo code will get you a chance to cut your electric bills in half, starting today. Online solar panel cost consultants from Geostellar, a West Virginia company, have worked with the WWF species conservation organization to set up a nationwide program that bundles energy savings in terms of solar employee benefits along with the other perks of working for a big corporation.

The best part: anybody looking for solar can get the same savings from now until the end of the year!

Geostellar (geostellar.com)After WWF, four major companies—Cisco Systems, 3M, Kimberly-Clark, and National Geographic—each started up a Solar Community Initiative to enhance employee benefits with huge savings on deeply discounted purchase or lease of solar panels for their homes. In the New York Times moments ago, Diane Cardwell noted that Geostellar and the participating companies are harnessing the bulk buying power of employees to allow for the substantial discounts.

Says Keya Chatterjee, senior director of renewable energy at WWF:

This takes the bulk purchase model from individual neighborhoods and organizations to a national scale. A coast-to-coast, low, flat rate helps mitigate two major barriers of solar adoption—complexity and price.

Here’s how the solar employee benefits program works:

  • The offer starts as a guaranteed benefit to more than 100,000 employees of the companies listed above.
  • It promises a flat rate that’s on average 35% lower than the national average cost of power.
  • This works out to roughly 50% cheaper than usual electric utility rates.
  • Employees’ friends and families in the United States and parts of Canada can also earn discounts.
  •  If only one percent of those offered the option choose to switch to solar, about 75,000 metric tons of yearly carbon emissions will never make it into our atmosphere.
  • And maybe best of all—for the rest of us—Geostellar is extending the group purchase discount until the end of 2014 to every US homeowner. The program is valid in all 50 US states and several Canadian provinces. All you need to do is go online to geostellar.com and enter the special promotional code “solarmojo” with your street address.

Says David Levine, CEO of Geostellar:

We’re thrilled to provide our first-of-its kind marketplace that makes the solar experience simple and convenient for the employees and communities of these pioneering companies. Homeowners everywhere can simply type in their address and see instantly how much solar can save them on their electric bills and increase the value of their homes, with no upfront costs or out-of-pocket payments.

Under the program, Geostellar told the Times, “homeowners paying an average of $147 a month for electricity would instead pay an average of $97 a month over 12 years if they financed the entire system, after which the payments would go to zero. The average base cost of a system will be $3 per watt.”

The company offers all qualifying new organizations—including companies, municipalities, schools, and clubs—a place in the Solar Community Initiative to increase their bulk purchasing power and expand access for employees, residents, and/or members to ridiculously inexpensive solar energy via solar employee benefits. SolarCity and Honda have a similar program.

USDOE SunShot Initiative (USDOE)Geostellar won the contract for this program through a competitive bidding process and received two DOE SunShot Initiative grants to reduce costs and streamline the process for homeowners who install solar. President Obama announced the corporate partnerships on September 18, 2014, as part of his latest commitments and executive actions to create jobs and cut carbon pollution. The company will coordinate all aspects of the solar employee benefits program.

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About the Author

covers environmental, health, renewable and conventional energy, and climate change news. She's currently on the climate beat for Important Media, having attended last year's COP20 in Lima Peru. Sandy has also worked for groundbreaking environmental consultants and a Fortune 100 health care firm. She writes for several weblogs and attributes her modest success to an "indelible habit of poking around to satisfy my own curiosity."

  • Marion Meads

    If they can guarantee that my electricity rate would always be 35% lower than the prevailing utility rates at all times, I would gladly sign up all the neighborhood with me in this program.

    But more realistically cited in


    “Utilities Will Move To Leaner Operations & More Cost Effective Energy Sourcing To Further Reduce Utility Rates
    Utilities around the US are watching in chagrin as solar is starting to siphon off their revenue streams and are formulating responses to this threat. It is outright silly to expect that utilities will just sit there and do nothing as solar starts eating utilities’ market share. The assumption that utilities will continue to raise rates when the competition is lowering rates does not pass the smell test. It is certain that utility rate structures, utility investment in power plants, and utility business models will change dramatically to keep up with the lower energy prices.

    Utility Rate Realignment
    We believe that the first effective response from the utilities, rate realignment, will be implemented in the next three to five years. We expect substantially all utilities to go to a new model where the utility bill will consist of a significant baseline fee for grid connectivity. We believe the baseline fees are likely to range from $5 to $50. Simultaneously, we expect the utilities to dramatically reduce the KWH pricing and also reduce peak and demand based pricing charges.

    This rate realignment move will not only impede future solar penetration, but will result in a significant percent of current leases/PPAs going underwater – i.e, the energy rates on leases/PPAs will be higher than the local utility rates. Rate realignment will likely mark the first major uptick in the lease/PPA customer dissatisfaction levels.

    Change In Net Metering Policies
    Utilities across the country are pushing for net metering policies less favorable to solar. As the impact of solar on utilities becomes clear, we expect there to be considerable political support to reduce benefits for net metering customers. The support is likely to come from a variety of factors such as concerns about grid stability, cost shifts to non-solar customers, cost shifts to the poor, etc. This change in net metering will not only impede solar penetration but may negatively impact the benefits of pre-existing solar systems.

    Future Solar Energy Contracts Will Be Meaningfully Cheaper Than Existing Contracts
    As solar panel costs and installation costs continue to reduce, the KWH pricing on leases and PPAs will drift down over time. Also, assuming the leasing business is anywhere near as attractive as SolarCity and Vivint claim, many new companies will enter the business and drive down the prices and profits. As cheaper PPAs/leases pervade, dissatisfaction of the users with older, higher energy rates is likely to increase.

    Dropping System Costs Impacts
    The installed cost of solar system is likely to drop substantially over time. We are modeling a $2 per watt installed price by 2020 including a 2 to 4 hour battery backup. At this price point, outright purchase of a typical 5kW system will cost the homeowner about $10K. We believe the percentage of homeowners who finance their system will dramatically reduce at or below the $10K price level. One has to wonder about the credit profile of the client base who sign a 20 year lease for a $10K system. We believe the FICO scores of the customer base will drop as the systems costs trend lower.

    New Technologies Will Make Current Rooftop Solar Obsolete
    Solar industry is in infancy. Panel efficiencies have been increasing significantly over time. Solar cell efficiency is expected to continue to increase for the next several years. The design of the solar panels is also expected to change dramatically over time. The current panel technology is likely to be obsolete both in terms of form and function during the life of a typical lease/PPA. Keeping up with the Joneses is a time honored practice of Middle America and many customers are likely to terminate their leases due to obsolescence issues.”

    • Offgridman

      Ms Meads,
      From some of your prior comments it seems that you hold as negative an attitude towards Solar City as you do Tesla. However seeing as you are quoting Seekingalpha who has also predicted the demise and bankruptcy of Tesla numerous times over the past four or five years, I got curious about the Solar City contracts.
      Yes the basic information has been available in the media, but what you brought up about if utility rates were to drop, which is a possibility, but something that isn’t to likely to happen soon as they still have all of their fossil fuel generation to pay off (all the new natural gas generation built in the past 5-10 years)with the retirement of the coal plants too, plus the grid upgrades necessary to encorporate the new renewable energy sources, and get us to a nationalized smart grid.
      So I spent last evening communicating with a Solar City sales rep to get the facts from the horses mouth, so to say, and found that a couple of the things you say about them are not quite accurate.
      To start with, the escalator in price is not a set part of every lease, if you make some kind of a down payment on your lease there is no escalator, just like better interest rates from the bank if you make a down payment when taking out a loan. And Solar City even adjusts the size of the down payment according to your financial situation, for extreme low income families it can be as low as a few hundred dollars.
      Now as to future costs of utility power, your contract with Solar City has nothing to do with that. They agree to sell you electricity that is 15-35% cheaper than your current costs for the next twenty years. That percentage is variable based on two things, first your location, and second on the quality of panels you decide to lease. So unlike your claim that they always install the cheapest of panels, that choice is entirely up to the customer. With higher quality panels increasing the cost of the lease to a degree, but also increasing the percentage that they will undercut the utility price.
      So with these factors in mind, the reality of the adjustments that the utilities are going to have to make to deal with our new energy situation (or fail themselves), along with the more accurate representation of how the Solar City leases work. I will grant that there is a chance of Solar City failing in the next twenty years, after all anything is possible. But with the release of their financials for the IPO, showing the tens of thousands of guaranteed payments in the future, with more thousands of contracts being added every week or month. Along with their investment in Silevo to ensure that they are able to continue providing the highest quality of panels. It seems to me that there is a fair chance that their business model can continue to be successful. For even with the continuing drop in the price of solar, our economy has made it so that there are to many people that are unable to invest directly in systems for their homes. And while a lease does not get them a solar system at the cheapest price, it does get them one and immediately makes the cost of their electricity less expensive for the foreseeable future. So if the people getting a lease just ask a couple of questions as I did, they also get a very high quality system, and don’t have to worry about an escalator on their payments.
      Also as you say in twenty years the quality of the new solar systems is going to be much better and the prices much lower. However these older leased systems should still be performing quite well with the ongoing maintenance and service from Solar City, but their perceived value compared to the new systems will be that much lower and make it that much easier for the customer’s to purchase them.
      Don’t know if this will change your perspective on Solar City any, but even if not, hope that you have a great day.

      • jeffhre

        Offgridman, That is very interesting, I did not realise that there was so much flexibility in their leases. It makes sense though that with better credit/higher down payment a lessee would see different options available to them.

        • Offgridman

          Glad that you found the information helpful, while I am not even in an area where they offer contracts yet I was curious about the facts because of so many conflicting statements in the media or the comment threads following.
          As to the ‘flexibility’ of their contracts part of it is just good business sense. The more people that you can make arrangements to suite their needs or desires, the more business you will do.
          So with Solar City being one of the leaders in rooftop installations that flexibility has paid off very well for them.

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