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Wednesday, November 19, 2014


3M Offers Low Cost Solar to Employees, Friends, Family

By Jonathan Cheng

The Koch brothers and other fossil industry stakeholders have been gearing up for yet another massive fight over the federal tax credit for wind energy, but as the great Satchel Paige famously remarked, “Don’t look back. Something might be gaining on you.” That something would be distributed, low cost solar power, which is growing by leaps and bounds. Case in point: just last night, major duct tape purveyor 3M announced an exponential expansion of its ambitious employee discount solar program, having stimulated “robust” interest in just the first few weeks. The 3M employee low cost solar program was launched on October 22 as part of the Solar Community Initiative organized by the World Wildlife Fund in partnership with Geostellar and other private sector collaborators. This low cost solar program really gilds the discount lily. First off, the program offers a power purchase agreement through Geostellar, under which the property owner pays no money up front for the solar installation. The cost of the solar panels is paid off incrementally as the property owner pays for the electricity they generate. That’s a savings right there, since the whole point of a power purchase agreement is to obtain solar-generated electricity at a lower rate. On top of that, the 3M deal involves a bulk rate purchasing advantage, which provides employees a discount on the photovoltaic system ranging from 25 to 35 percent. The result is an average savings of 30 percent off their utility bills for homeowners, compared to individual purchasing at the going rate.