By Roy L Hales
It will soon be a month since Chambers for Innovation and Clean Energy(CICE) announced their partnership with EnergySage. Their first project was finding an installer to put solar panels on the new roof of Metro South Chamber of Commerce, in Brockton Massachusetts. The first broad sampling of opinion was at the American Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE) annual conference. CICE’s partnership with EnergySage looks like a winner.
“CICE provides case studies and best practices to local chambers of commerce who are interested in pursuing clean energy programs,” said Ryan Hodum, New England Program Manager, Chambers for Innovation and Clean Energy.
His organization is a non-profit that helps close to 400 chambers of commerce, in all 50 states.
They are a non-profit that helps close to 400 chambers of commerce, in all 50 states.
In EnergySage, CICE found an online platform that gives member chambers an opportunity to compare quotes from multiple pre-screened installers.
EnergySage had also been a recipient in the DOE’s Sunshot Initiative for two years running.
“That seems like a very good stamp of approval,” said Hodum.
Solar installers pay EnergySage a nominal fee for a listing in the online marketplace. That gives them access to specific bids, using the same terms.
As chambers of commerce is typically made up by a mix of large and small businesses, it seemed only logical to open the opportunity to businesses and residential customers.
“It essentially allows to compare apples to apples and make a more informed decision as they look to install solar on their roofs,” Hodum added. “Otherwise they might take a few months longer to make a decision, or a business owner might be overwhelmed by bids that are very difficult to compare.”
EnergySage will donate $250 for residential system, and to up to $5,000 for large commercial systems, to chambers of commerce whose members go solar through the EnergySage Marketplace.
Installing solar on a local chamber is excellent advertising for EnergySage, especially as they are often right beside the local information center.
“It illustrates what is possible, from a trusted entity in the community,” said Hodum.
Prior to discovering EnergySage, Metro South Chamber of Commerce did not think it had enough funds to build a new roof and solar. Now they are doing both.
CICE communicated with a number of chambers in the months before announcing its partnership with EnergySage on July 30, but the first broad sampling was at ACCE’s annual conference. Representatives from around 200 chambers met in Cincinnati, Aug 12-15, 2014.
“The conference went very well,”Hodum said. “CICE spoke to nearly 100 local chamber executives about the EnergySage program. Over a dozen local chambers expressed interest in promoting the program among their members or, at the very least, having a more detailed conversation with us in the very near future.”