Nonprofit app aims to close solar gap in America
More than nine out of 10 solar-ready homes and schools in the United States have not yet gone solar and the new app-driven Renewable Nation and its ‘Solar Schools 2025’ program intend to do something about that. The Renewable Nation app is available now on the Google Play store and iTunes.
Renewable Nation is an independent non-profit effort dedicated to accelerating the adoption of safe, affordable and clean energy.
Renewable Nation uses the latest technology to help American homeowners and schools better understand and act on their renewable energy and energy efficiency choices. The core elements of Renewable Nation are:
- A non-commercial, crowd-sourced database of solar contractors and installers.
- The best in curated videos about clean energy and energy efficiency projects around the home.
- Solar Schools 2025, a project of Renewable Nation, targets 50 schools a year to ‘buddy up’ with schools that already have gone solar, a step-by-step package of materials, and a weekly series of Webinars about how to go solar. Solar Schools 2025 is recruiting the first 50 schools for its program now and applications can be made through the Renewable Nation app.
Scott Stapf, program director, Renewable Nation said: “Renewable Nation is going to cut through the clutter and confusion about cost, reliability and accessibility that is holding back far too many American homeowners and schools from going solar. When three out of five homeowners want solar on their roof and fewer than one in 30 have done so, you know there is some real hesitancy that has to be addressed.”
“Renewable Nation gets people the practical information they need using the latest technology that is key to effective communication today. Too many people either have outdated information about costs and efficiency or they are overwhelmed by what seems like a complex and perilous process. We address that with the Renewable Nation app, which will highlight the experienced contractors and installers and the latest in tips for people interested in ‘going solar’.
“We are tapping into the practical, problem-solving DIY orientation of homeowners to help them save money, support American jobs, and conserve and protect water and the quality of our air at the same time.”
Why renewable nation is needed now
- Virtually every rooftop in the US already has been mapped to assess its suitability for solar power generation. As a result, we know that about four out of five (79%) of US homes are suitable for solar.
- There is a total of 74 million single-family homes in the US, which means that about 58.4 million are ideal for solar rooftops.
- Surveys show that more than three out of five (62%) homeowners want solar on their rooftops.
- However, only 1.3 million home rooftop solar installations have been completed so far in the United States, which is just 2.2% of the total potential.
- There are about 125,000 US elementary and secondary schools, of which 72,000 are solar-ready. However, only 5,489 US schools (under 8%) had gone solar through 2017.
- Researchers have identified 450 individual US school districts which could each save more than $1m over 30 years by installing solar.
- If all 72,000 of America’s ‘solar-ready’ schools were to deploy typical systems, the total energy production for the schools would equal 5,400MW, an amount exceeding a third of the total solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity installed in the entire US.
Understanding the renewable nation approach
The Renewable Nation app focuses on two core homeowner audiences:
- More than half (56%) of homeowners are do-it-yourselfers (DIYers), a group that consists of slightly more men than women. Forty percent of Americans plan on a home improvement project in the next year, a $322.4m annual market. In a seeming contradiction, 56% of DIYers will use a professional contractor for all or part of their project, as in a solar roof and many major energy-efficiency installations.
- Women control 85% of household purchasing, including 91% of new home buys and 58% of online shopping. A third (32%) of women are planning a home improvement project in the next year. Surveys show that women are somewhat more focused than men on the importance of energy efficiency.
Research shows that homeowners increasingly use apps and online videos to pre-plan projects and visits to hardware/lumber stores. The Renewable Nation app is designed to ensure that these consumers have ready access to non-commercial information and videos on key topics that already have been curated for their use.