- Employees of 3M, Cisco, Kimberly-Clark and the National Geographic Society will be able to install solar panels at discounted rates under a new program developed by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), according to reporting from the New York Times.
- The program will kick off as a benefit to more than 100,000 employees of the participating companies, and WWF estimated that if 1% choose to go with solar then more than 74,500 metric tons of carbon emissions would be avoided each year.
- The solar incentive will give employees and their friends and family access to home solar power at a flat rate that WWF believes is on average 35% lower than the national average and roughly 50% less expensive than the average electric utility rates.
WWF said it envisions the solar initiative as as an employee benefits program, similar to health insurance, bringing large companies together to leverage the bulk purchasing power of their employee base.
“This takes the bulk purchase model from individual neighborhoods and organizations to a national scale,” said Keya Chatterjee, senior director of renewable energy at WWF. “A coast-to-coast, low, flat rate helps mitigate two major barriers of solar adoption—complexity and price—making it possible for more American families to save the planet without leaving their homes.”
The New York Times reports that the trend may be catching on as companies take an interest in greener power and solar installers and environmental activists pair up with corporations more frequently. Though some are critical of the closer links with big business, the idea is expanding access to renewable power. Recently SolarCity announced it was renewing a similar project with Honda, the Times noted.
The project is facilitated by WWF and will be managed by Geostellar. The company, which won a competitive bidding process, will run the online solar platform and manage the financing, design, permitting and installation processes for individual homeowners.