Explore, enjoy and protect the planet

Learn About Solar


Sierra Club’s Executive Director Michael Brune Goes Solar

Solar Homes Program

When you go solar with the Sierra Club, you are joining more than 1,100 members and supporters in a national movement toward a clean-energy future. Learn more about the Sierra Club's Solar Homes Program and partnership with Sungevity.
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1. Why should I go solar with the Sierra Club?

When you go solar with the Sierra Club, you are joining more than 1,100 supporters in a national movement toward a clean-energy future.   

Solar is a completely renewable and extremely abundant resource—the sun hits us with 6,000 times more energy in one day than the entire earth needs for a whole year. Ever heard of a catastrophic solar-spill threatening fish and wildlife? An asthma attack because of a solar panel?  

We didn’t think so.

The environmental benefit of rooftop solar is clear. But there are other great reasons to go solar with the Sierra Club and Sungevity:

  • The Sierra Club makes it easy: Feel confident about going solar with a company that is a trusted partner of the Sierra Club

  • Solar has never been more affordable: The material cost for rooftop solar has fallen dramatically, and for now, you can still benefit from significant federal and (depending on where you live) state incentives for installing solar that bring down the cost of both purchased and leased systems. And with solar leasing programs, you can often go solar for no money down.

  • Solar puts your money to work for you: As utility rates continue to rise, solar leasing allows you to lock in lower utility rates through low solar lease payments. With these leasing options, an average Sungevity customer saves 15 percent on electricity costs from day one.  

  • Solar creates jobs: In just the U.S. alone, solar and wind power have created more than 770,000 jobs. The growth of solar jobs has outpaced the national average by 10 percent.  

  • Solar leaves a legacy for the future: When you go solar, you are creating a sustainable energy foundation for future generations. Rooftop solar not only generates clean energy today, it sets a precedent for the clean energy innovation of tomorrow.

2. What companies has the Sierra Club partnered with in my state?

Our national partnership is with Sungevity in Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Washington DC.

Not in a Sungevity state?  Enter your zip code here to see if we are in your state with another solar provider and see what going solar can do for you, your local Sierra Club chapter, and the planet. 

Can’t go solar? Let your family and friends in a Sungevity state know about this partnership, and get $500 every time someone you referred goes solar.

3. Why did the Sierra Club partner with Sungevity?

We are partnering with Sungevity because we see this as an easy, affordable way to support the development and deployment of clean energy and help move America beyond dirty fuels.  

Sungevity has an excellent reputation, strong financial backing, and the company shares our commitment to creating a vibrant clean energy economy—that is why they are giving the Sierra Club $750 for every member or supporter who goes solar with them.  

What’s more, Sungevity sees solar as a cause, not just a business. Danny Kennedy, Sungevity’s co-founder and spokesperson, has always been an activist first and foremost. Sungevity has donated over 2,500 solar kits to rural Zambian communities, and fosters solar startups in their solar incubator in Oakland, California, the SFunCube.

The Sierra Club conducted an extensive review to choose the right partner, and we believe that Sungevity’s offer will make it easy for Sierra Club members and supporters to go solar and feel good about their solar provider.

4. Do funds from this program help Sierra Club chapters?

Yes! When you go solar, Sungevity sends $750 back to your local Sierra Club chapter to continue the important on-the-ground work chapters are doing every day to explore, enjoy, and protect the planet.  

5. If funds are going to Sierra Club chapters, does that mean that I am paying more?

No. A big part of the cost of a solar system (more than 25 percent in most cases) is the cost associated with customer acquisition. By helping promote solar to our members and supporters, the Sierra Club is helping reduce that cost for Sungevity and other solar providers so they are passing the savings onto you and the Sierra Club.

6. How do I get started?

Getting started is easy! Just take a few minutes to fill out an iQuote, and Sungevity will be in touch with you within a few days to help you start your journey toward rooftop solar.

Not in a Sungevity state? Enter your zip code here to get started.

Can’t go solar? Start referring your friends and family to go solar today with Sungevity’s OurSungevity program.

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Going Solar with Sungevity

Sungevity shares the Sierra Club's commitment to creating a vibrant clean energy economy—that is why they are giving the Sierra Club $750 for every member or supporter who goes solar with them. Read more about what it's like to go solar with Sungevity.
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1. What locations does Sungevity serve with the Sierra Club?

Sungevity's service area is growing fast. Sungevity currently serves most parts of Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Washington DC.

2. What happens after I sign up to go solar with Sungevity?

After you sign up, Sungevity will start working on getting your solar system up and running by scheduling a home visit with one of their expert local installers. Then they’ll design the system, install it at a time that is convenient for you, and handle the permits and other paperwork. After installation, they’ll proactively monitor your system so it will always be optimized for maximum performance.

3. What if my system generates more electricity than I use?

It's yours! Your excess production belongs to you, and depending on your utility, you may get a credit for this excess production. During a sunny day, your system produces a lot of electricity. The additional electricity your system produces flows back into the grid and runs your meter backwards, earning you credits. Then, when it's dark, you draw electricity back from the grid.

4. What's an iQuote?

An iQuote gives you a firm price on an appropriately-sized solar system for your home. The iQuote shows you the cost of buying vs. leasing a system, and how much you’ll save on electricity over a 20-year period.

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Home Solar

Still have questions about going solar? Read more about roof requirements, shading, financing, and more here.
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1. Is solar right for my home?

Sungevity offers a no-pressure consultation to help determine if going solar will work for you. First, they'll get on the phone with you and your utility and gather information on your last 12 months of energy use. That's what makes Sungevity’s quotes so accurate in estimating both the amount by which they can offset your use, and the cost/savings potential of going solar. By learning how your usage fluctuates from month to month, and because both solar production and utility rates fluctuate as well, knowing how much energy you’ve used for each of the last 12 months makes the quotes as personalized as possible. Sungevity then uses their remote proprietary design tool to engineer a custom solar solution for your home. Sungevity also completes all of the rebate & interconnection paperwork on your behalf. And finally, Sungevity uses the best local solar experts to install your solar system, turn-key and hassle-free.

2. Lease or buy?

Today, homeowners have incredible flexibility in how they pay for solar PV systems. In addition to traditional methods such as outright purchases and loans, new plans such as solar leases have been added to the mix. They are increasingly becoming the preferred way for consumers to finance the installation of a solar PV system, as they significantly reduce the required upfront investment.

Consider your Goals: Not unlike the decision about which technology is best, the decision about how to pay for it is also a function of your particular goals. The main things for you to consider are:

  1. How much do you want to invest upfront?
  2. Is your goal to save money or make a good investment?  In both cases, you are cutting your carbon footprint by the same amount. 
  3. How long will you own this property? 

Regardless of which financing option you choose, you will save money, protect yourself from rising energy prices, add value to your property, and reduce your environmental impact. The decision comes down to what you are most comfortable doing. 

SOLAR LEASEPREPAID
SOLAR LEASE
OUTRIGHT PURCHASE
 UPFRONT PAYMENT 

Pay zero upfront or a custom down-payment on a lease or PPA*. A small upfront payment could reduce lifetime cost.

Pre-pay the entire amount of the lease (should be less than the outright purchase price).

Larger upfront investment. You pay full cost of the system.

 MONTHLY BILLS 

Leasing company owns the system. You pay a fixed monthly solar payment for duration of lease. Rate may increase at a fixed amount but you should see immediate savings on total electricity costs.

Leasing company owns the system, but because you pay entire lease upfront, there are no monthly solar payments.

No monthly solar payments. System produces electricity for 25+ years at no additional cost.

 MAINTENANCE & REPAIRS 

Covered by the leasing company.

Covered by the leasing company.

As owner of the system, you are responsible for maintenance and repairs. Most solar panels carry a 25 year performance warranty.

 INCENTIVES 

The leasing company will manage and keep all tax and rebate incentives and associated paperwork and pass the savings to you.

The leasing company will manage and keep all tax and rebate incentives and associated paperwork and pass the savings to you.
If SRECs** are available, they could reduce the upfront pre-payment.

You are eligible for the Federal Investment Tax Credit and possibly cash rebates offered by your state or local utility. It is your responsibility to file paperwork for these incentives. If SRECs** are available, you are eligible to benefit from associated revenue.

 SELLING PROPERTY 

If selling before the end of the lease, you will need to ensure the buyer is credit-worthy and willing to assume the solar lease.

No impact on sale of property. Lease continuation options differ. Check with solar provider.

The system may be sold with the home.

 

  

Notes: 

* Solar PPAs (Power Purchase Agreements) are offered by some solar companies.  They are very similar to leases but the payment is set per kwh produced by the system instead of per month.

** In a few states you may be able to benefit from the sale of any available Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs) either directly (with an outright purchase) or through a reduction in the lease amount. With a lease, the solar leasing company will keep the SRECs and the associated revenue.  With a pre-paid lease, the company could substantially reduce the upfront payment amount if it keeps the SRECs. With a purchase, you will be eligible to keep the SRECs and the associated revenue from their sale. 

3. How big a roof do I need?

This depends on how much energy you would like to offset. When you request an iQuote, Sungevity will use their proprietary design tool to look at your roof and determine how many panels it can accommodate. Limited roof size is rarely an issue.

4. Should I re-roof my house before going solar?

Solar panels last a long time, so it makes sense to avoid having to remove and reinstall them. If your roof is in poor condition it is advisable to re-roof before installing your solar system. Once the panels are installed, they may extend the life of your roof by shielding it from the elements. So if your roof is relatively new and structurally sound, get an iQuote and learn if solar is right for you.

5. What if my roof is shaded?

Shade reduces the amount of electricity your system can produce. Sungevity’s remote solar design team will work to position your panels where they will get maximum sun exposure. Occasionally, Sungevity finds that a roof is too shady to make solar feasible.

6. Do solar systems require maintenance?

Home solar systems generally require very little maintenance. If you lease a system, Sungevity guarantees your system's energy production. All you need to do is maintain a 24/7 internet connection so Sungevity can proactively monitor its production.

7. Will I have power during a blackout?

In the event of a blackout, your inverter will automatically shut down for safety reasons. Thus you will not have electricity until power is restored to the grid.

8. Do batteries come with my solar system?

No. Sungevity's solar systems are grid-tied, meaning they're connected to the local utility that supplies electricity to your home.

9. Can my panels withstand hurricanes and snow?

Sungevity’s solar systems are designed, engineered, and installed to all applicable building codes and engineering standards for their location and environment. Sungevity complies with all federal, state, and local jurisdictions to make sure your system is designed to withstand extreme weather-related events. Solar panels are designed to handle tough weather. Sungevity solar homes made it through the recent Hurricane Sandy with minimal damage. Most solar panels are guaranteed to withstand 3/4-inch hail at 120 miles per hour. They are also built to withstand direct lightning strikes. Of course if nature does damage your leased solar system, Sungevity will fix or replace it for free.

10. Does solar work in foggy neighborhoods?

Solar systems continue to produce even when it's cloudy, although they produce more when the sun is shining.

 

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Solar Leasing

Sungevity offers affordable leasing options that allow you to go solar without any upfront costs. Learn more about Sungevity's solar leasing options.
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1. Why a Sungevity solar lease?

Because we believe that the Sungevity Solar Lease makes solar affordable. Many homeowners who want the benefits of solar energy can't afford the upfront cost associated with a cash system. With a Sungevity solar lease, Sungevity makes the upfront investment and absorbs all the burdens and risks. Sungevity pays for the design and installation and is responsible for the system's operation, maintenance, repair, and monitoring. Customers get solar electricity with locked-in price stability. You can go solar with no down payment, and you'll save money from Day One. With the Sungevity Solar Lease, the reduction in your monthly energy bill will usually be greater than your solar lease payment. And on top of the financial benefits, Sungevity guarantees the performance of the system, provides proactive monitoring and maintenance, and insures your system against accidental damage.

2. How long is the Sungevity solar lease commitment?

The Sungevity Solar Lease is a 20-year commitment to solar-powered living and financial savings. After 20 years, you may choose to renew for additional 5-year periods (up to 25 years).

3. What happens if I need to move?

You may end up selling your home, so Sungevity makes it easy to transfer your lease to a new homeowner. You have several options which are explained in your lease, including: 1. Assigning your lease to the new homeowner subject to credit check; 2. Prepaying the remaining lease payments and assigning the benefits and non-financial obligations (e.g., roof access) to the new homeowner; 3. Purchasing the Sungevity solar home system at fair market value; and 4. Terminating the lease and asking Sungevity to remove the system. All of these details are set forth in your lease and performance guarantee, including applicable renewable energy incentive holding periods and recapture payments.

4. Why does Sungevity need to know my energy consumption over each of the last 12 months?

Your historical energy consumption is necessary to customize a solar solution that matches your lifestyle, current and future. The information makes Sungeivty’s solar iQuote accurate and best predicts the money they can save you by going solar. Sungevity also needs 12 months' historical energy consumption in order to complete the solar rebates and incentive paperwork.

5. What happens at the end of my lease term?

Your Sungevity solar lease lasts 20 years. At the end of the agreement, Sungevity makes it easy for you to continue with solar, or have Sungevity remove the system.

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