Credit Union Organizes First 'Group Buy' Solar Program

Members of the San Jose Credit Union, who are also City of San Jose employees and retirees, can now go solar more efficiently and cost effectively thanks to an innovative group buy program.

The San Jose Employee Solar Group Buy program is the result of a partnership between the San Jose Credit Union and San Jose’s Solar America City Program. A group of 130 City employees and retirees negotiated the group buy, which allows them to purchase residential solar electric and solar thermal systems at a reduced cost.

Group members, no matter where they live, will be able to reap the benefits of volume purchasing and low interest loans.

The San Jose Employee Solar Group Buy program builds upon the success of similar community group solar purchases in Portland, Ore., and other cities across the country, and takes the model from the neighborhood and city-specific level to the organizational level.

The group discount, in addition to currently available federal tax credits and California Solar Initiative incentives, offers group buy participants substantial cost savings.

"We’re already the city with the most solar power in California," San
Jose Mayor Chuck Reed commented. "These innovative approaches are what
continue to set San Jose apart as a leader in sustainable energy. I
encourage more organizations to follow their lead to help us achieve our
Green Vision goals."

SunPower Corporation (Nasdaq: SPWRA) and SunWater Solar, the solar providers chosen for the project, were selected through a competitive bid process. An independent, seven-member volunteer evaluation committee selected the vendors.

SunWater Solar and SunPower, through its dealer network, will work with participating homeowners to perform site assessments to determine the correct size and design of the photovoltaic and/or solar thermal system. Installations will take place between September of 2010 and February of 2011. The program aims to install solar electric and solar thermal systems on more than 130 homes, adding over 300 kilowatts of new solar electric capacity throughout the Bay Area.

According to data from the California Solar Initiative (CSI), San Jose has installed more solar power than any other California city. The most recent California Public Utilities Commission annual report shows that from Jan. 1, 2007 to July 7, 2010, San Jose installed 14.9 megawatts of solar power on residential and commercial roofs across 1,737 sites.

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