What if the guy installing your new solar panels could also fix your ducts and fit your home for energy-efficient lights? SolarCity, the largest provider of residential solar power in
California, is now also the first provider to offer home energy
efficiency improvements. It’s a move that should cushion SolarCity’s bottom line, as well as that of its customers.
As part of SolarCity’s Home TuneUp option, solar lease customers can opt for a detailed home efficiency evaluation and a package of energy-saving
home improvements. During the program’s rollout period (about two months), SolarCity will offer minor improvements–including duct leakage fixes, programmable thermostats, energy efficient lights–for free. Simple improvements are done on the same day as the solar installation and home efficiency evaluation, but major upgrades (such as a new HVAC system) are done later. SolarCity will charge for parts.
“A lot of these upgrades will have to happen anyway,” explains SolarCity CEO Lyndon Rive. “We end up replacing things when
they break, and it’s often a time of severe discomfort. For example, HVAC systems have a
certain lifespan, and they break when it’s really cold or really hot. We explain this to customers.”
The Home TuneUp is currently only available in California, but SolarCity plans to roll it out to other markets in the coming months. “There are solar companies that outsource this kind of thing,” Rive says. “We just send more people.”