A PV-Buzz Special Report:
While many well known companies such as Google, Apple and the like offer free beer, games and quick nap times among other benefits to their employees, these three companies just took ’employee benefits’ to a whole new level.

Cisco Systems, 3M, and Kimberly-Clark — announced that they will start offering their employees discounted methods of installing solar energy (buying or leasing) on their personal properties.

offering solar benefits

The program, ‘Solar Community Initiative‘ which was first introduced at the World Wildlife Fund–is offered through Geostellar–an online marketer of solar systems.

More than 100,000 employees in total between these three companies will benefit from this very lucrative initiative. Included in the packages are options for employee friends and families within the United States and parts of Canada.

The program’s main objective is to provide a flat rate that is on average 35 percent lower than the national average and roughly 50 percent less expensive than average electric utility rates.

Environmentalists welcome this initiative as an estimated 74,500 metric tons of carbon emissions would be avoided each year if and when one percent of these employees choose to power their homes with solar.

“This takes the bulk purchase model from individual neighbourhoods and organizations to a national scale,” Keya Chatterjee, senior director of renewable energy at WWF, said in a statement. “A coast-to-coast, low, flat rate helps mitigate two major barriers of solar adoption — complexity and price.”

The program will be managed through a company intranet website that will basically provide a solar discount code that links to Geostellar’s main frame (website) making useful online tools available for employees to easily determine their property’s solar potential.

“I get the emails: ‘Why aren’t we recycling this, or why don’t we have 45,000 more electric vehicle charging stations,’” Ali Ahmed, who manages energy and sustainability at Cisco, said. “So we had a really good feeling that our employees would engage and latch onto this kind of discount.”

Interest in the program is already heating up with three Cisco executives decided on installing solar systems on their properties. At 3M, many employees literally lined up at a kiosk during lunchtime to learn more about the program.

What the U.S. and Canada can learn:
This initiative or program may serve as a model for companies, municipalities, schools, and clubs to adopt; and encourage their employees to install solar energy.

Derick Lila
Derick is a Clark University graduate—and Fulbright alumni with a Master's Degree in Environmental Science, and Policy. He has over a decade of solar industry research, marketing, and content strategy experience.

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