Jun 6, 2016

In the Know

Identifying tips and practices for a more sustainable future

Nation's First EV/Solar Group Purchase Program Boosts Sales

DENVER, CO – A coalition of Denver metro local governments led by Boulder County launched the nation’s first combined solar and electric vehicle group purchase program during the last four months of 2015 and tallied impressive sales results.  Now the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project (SWEEP) and the Colorado Energy Office have released a handbook and case study to help other cities and counties replicate the program across the country.

Boulder and Adams Counties and the City and County of Denver worked together to develop the program and conducted a competitive bid process with solar companies and car manufacturers and dealers.  Anyone in Colorado could take advantage of the program, and it was marketed through press releases, employee emails, blogs and other methods.

“A single participating Nissan dealership sold 248 Nissan LEAFs during the program, more than four times their normal monthly sales volume and 5 percent of all LEAFs sold in the nation between September and December,” said Will Toor, director of transportation programs for SWEEP, which provided support for the program. “The results exceeded our expectations.”

The bulk purchase program accounted for sales of 147 solar systems as well.  Nineteen people who bought electric vehicles (EVs) through the program also bought solar systems, and the majority of those systems were large enough to power both home and car.

“It is a very inexpensive but high impact program for a local agency to run,” said Cabell Hodge, policy advisor at the Colorado Energy Office (CEO). “You are leveraging the collective buying power of people within a community to negotiate a price discount from sellers of rooftop solar systems and electric vehicles.”

The handbook developed by the Colorado Energy Office and SWEEP for other communities to use in planning their own bulk purchase program for solar and electric vehicles, covers:
  • Community cost and benefits of bulk purchase programs
  • The RFP process for solar installers and EV sellers
  • Logistics and marketing
  • Evaluation
“These programs can play an important role in reducing air emissions,” said Hodge of the Colorado Energy Office.  “At the same time, they save consumers thousands of dollars in fuel costs, which can be re-invested in their local communities.”

SWEEP press release
GovTech.com Future Structure article

Case Study

For additional information:
Will Toor
Director of Transportation Programs, Southwest Energy Efficiency Project

Wes Maurer
Transportation Program Manager at Colorado Energy Office

For resources and tools related to sustainability, visit the Center for Sustainability (C4S) and C4S Toolkit.