Open Neighborhoods and PermaCity Announce Solar Challenge for Los Angeles County

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LA companies team up to make going solar easy and affordable with group discounts, neighborhood workshops and a solar challenge to raise up to $40,000 for school booster clubs, religious institutions and other non-profit organizations

Open Neighborhoods and PermaCity, Inc., a leading Los Angeles-based solar panel installer, have announced a new program to install one megawatt of solar power on the rooftops of homes, businesses, and multi-family housing in Los Angeles County.

The Open Neighborhoods Community Solar program allows property owners in Los Angeles County to buy or lease solar panels installed by PermaCity with discounted savings of up to thirty-three percent. To participate in the Los Angeles County group installation, interested property owners can sign up to request a free solar assessment at http://openneighborhoods.net/gosolar.

Open Neighborhoods and PermaCity together announced a Solar Challenge offering up to $40,000 for school booster clubs, religious institutions and other non-profit organizations in Los Angeles County. Participating organizations will raise funds by helping their communities switch to clean energy from the Sun. Interested organizations can apply to participate at http://openneighborhoods.net/solarchallenge.

“The level of interest in developing sustainable neighborhoods is growing rapidly, and we engage with these communities to help homeowners, non-profits and business owners make a sound decision on going solar,” said Open Neighborhoods Co-Founder John Ayers.

Available to qualified homeowners, businesses and multi-family residences county-wide, the Open Neighborhoods Community Solar program is the third group solar installation organized by the company, a Certified B Corporation recognized for high standards of social and environmental performance. The selection of PermaCity follows a competitive bidding process in which Open Neighborhoods solicited and evaluated proposals from a wide range of solar installers.

“We are pleased to partner with PermaCity in introducing cost-effective innovations in solar technology and volume pricing with leading manufacturers to make solar more affordable than ever in LA County,” said Open Neighborhoods Co-Founder James Brennan.

PermaCity is a premier solar company with eight years of experience installing over 20 megawatts of solar panels on residential, commercial, and multi-family rooftops. To help keep solar installation costs down for small-scale installations, PermaCity is offering a new fully assembled, plug-and-play modular rooftop solar power system that gives property owners an easy and low-cost way to purchase clean energy.

The new system, called AC Unison, reduces installation expenses by including built-in “microinverters” that make it economical to get started with a single panel. Developed by Austin, Texas-based SolarBridge Technologies, the microinverters are an energy conversion device that is mounted on the back of each solar panel. The technology avoids the additional expense of installing a separate inverter to convert solar energy into AC power. This makes the panels more efficient by reducing the energy waste that typically occurs when power is transferred from a solar panel to a separate inverter. The AC Unison system is manufactured by AU Optronics, the world’s third largest producer of flat-screen TV’s.

As part of the Open Neighborhoods Community Solar program, PermaCity is offering group discounts on the purchase of solar panel installations, with discounted pricing starting at $4.40/Watt for systems as small as 2kW, and further reduced pricing to $3.90/Watt for larger installations.

“PermaCity Solar is thrilled to start this alliance with Open Neighborhoods. When neighbors join together in this opportunity they get solar for up to thirty-three percent less,” said PermaCity CEO Jonathan Port.

For property-owners seeking to avoid the upfront costs of installing solar panels, PermaCity is also offering participants a twenty-five percent discount on leased solar panels manufactured by California-based SunPower, Inc. Solar leases are available with $0 down and a monthly payment less than your electric bill. In addition, lease customers will receive $1,000 cash back on a lease purchase, and an additional $500 in referral fees for introducing new lease customers to the program. PermaCity is an authorized SunPower premier dealer, and currently holds the record for the largest roof-mounted solar power installation in the United States, a 3.5 MW solar-powered warehouse in Mira Loma, California.

Solar power can dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and one megawatt of solar in LA County is capable of providing approximately 1.2 million kilowatt hours of electricity annually, preventing roughly 22,800 metric tons of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere.

Property owners participating in the Open Neighborhoods Community Solar program can also purchase discounted solar panel modules from other popular manufacturers including Sharp, SANYO, and SunPower. A stand-alone DC ready solar carport is also available as part of the program. PermaCity is currently installing solar carports on several Los Angeles Unified School District campuses.

The Open Neighborhoods program coincides with the September relaunch of the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power (LADWP) solar rebate program. For a limited time LADWP is offering rebates that will cover roughly half of installation costs, after Open Neighborhoods Community Solar discounts are applied. Taking advantage of solar group discounts and available incentives, participants can end up paying less than one-quarter the cost of installation. Similar incentives are offered through Southern California Edison and other LA County electric utilities.

Open Neighborhoods and PermaCity will be appearing at the Green Booth at the Mar Vista Farmers Market (Venice Blvd. at Grand View) on Sunday, September 11th from 10am to 2pm to present details of the program. Additional neighborhood workshops and events will be announced in the coming weeks. Community members are invited to learn more at http://www.openneighborhoods.net.

About PermaCity
PermaCity has been an innovator from the start; offering specialized end-to-end solutions for commercial, industrial, government and residential projects. PermaCity delivers competitive installation pricing, including bulk-rate aggregation pricing from the world’s largest and highest quality equipment suppliers. In the new world of solar, a PermaCity project is known for system longevity, architectural aesthetics, and highest performance.

About Open Neighborhoods
Los Angeles-based Open Neighborhoods is a Certified B Corporation founded in 2008 with a mission to connect and inform local neighborhoods with open Internet access, social networking services, and clean energy solutions. The organization engages neighborhoods through local community partnerships and a network of neighborhood blogs and social media channels to offer solar group discounts, neighborhood workshops, and affordable financing options to reduce upfront installation costs.

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