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Portland, Oregon Grassroots Solarize Campaign Drives Down Solar Prices 30%

Photo of a red house with solar panels on the roof and a big yellow flower in front.

Starting as a grassroots effort to help residents of Portland, Oregon, overcome financial and logistical barriers to installing solar power, Solarize Portland campaigns have revolutionized the market for solar, driving down prices by more than 30% and generating more than 50 permanent green jobs within the city's solar industry. Integral to that success is the Solarize Guidebook which offers neighborhoods a plan for getting volume discounts when making group purchased of rooftop solar energy systems.

In 2011, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory helped the city of Portland develop the Solarize Guidebook that initially served as a reference guide for the city as it responded to inquiries about the program.

Revised in 2013, the guidebook explores Portland's Solarize model and how neighborhoods in Massachusetts, Vermont, and California are building off of Portland's efforts. It includes step-by-step plans for creating a successful Solarize community program in six months or less and provides lessons learned across 1,960 existing Solarize installations nationwide.

Dozens of communities, companies and contractors across the United States have launched their own versions of a neighborhood collective purchasing program. Building off the idea of strength in numbers coupled with a good deal and a limited time to act brings people off the fence and into the marketplace very quickly.

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