The Solarize Guidebook: A community guide to collective purchasing of residential PV systems
The Solarize Guidebook is intended to be a roadmap for project planners and solar advocates who want to create their own successful Solarize campaigns.
It describes the key elements of the Solarize Portland campaigns and variations from projects across the country, along with lessons learned and planning templates. The guidebook is funded by the DOE SunShot Initiative, a collaborative national initiative to make solar energy cost competitive with other forms of energy by the end of the decade.
The first ‘Solarize’ campaign started as a grassroots effort to help residents of Portland, Oregon, overcome the financial and logistical barriers to installing solar power. What began in one neighborhood as ‘Solarize Southeast!’ quickly caught on with residents across the city. With support from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)’s Solar America Communities program, the City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability partnered with neighborhood coalition offices, Solar Oregon (the state American Solar Energy Society chapter) and Energy Trust of Oregon to provide community organizing, technical assistance, project management, and rebates in a wildly popular grassroots-driven program.
After three years of Solarize campaigns, Portland has added over 1.7 MW of distributed photovoltaics (PV) and established a strong, steady solar installation economy. Since the publication of the first Solarize Guidebook in 2011, dozens of communities, companies and contractors across the U.S. have launched their own versions of a neighborhood collective purchasing program. With installed costs for behind-the-meter (distributed) solar dropping 17% in 2010 and continuing to fall in 2011,1 the residential PV market in the U.S. is poised to continue expansion and Solarize campaigns can accelerate this growth.