Nonprofit and Small Business Bulk-Purchases

In 2012, DC SUN piloted a bulk purchase program for DC organizations interested in going solar. Any local nonprofit, community organization, church, or small business was eligible to participate. The final participants in the group were:

Emergence Community Arts Collective went solar in 2012 as part of the Nonprofit/Small Business Bulk Purchase

Emergence Community Arts Collective went solar in 2013 as part of the Nonprofit/Small Business Bulk Purchase. ECAC provides social activities, traditional arts classes, support groups and educational seminars to community members.

What is a bulk purchase?

A bulk purchase is when a group of organizations goes through the process of purchasing solar systems together. The group selects a single installer to do the work. Each organization has its own system installed and pays separately, but they all benefit from a lower installation price on account of the the bulk purchase.

Why a bulk purchase?

Save money

  • Economies of scale enable the installers to purchase panels for less.
  • Larger projects attract more bids, increasing competition and driving prices down.
  • Groups have greater negotiating power because they’ve created a larger project.

Make it easier to go solar

  • Have support of DC SUN and other organizations throughout process.
  • Don’t have to navigate multiple bids and scenarios independently.

Increase fundraising potential

  • Large projects attract the attention of donors and media.

How does the process work?

  • Your organization hosts an information meeting and recruits other nonprofits, congregations, or community organizations to attend. DC SUN shares information about the basics of going solar, how a bulk purchase works, and how organizations can go solar.
  • Organizations interested in moving forward sign up via an online form. You also submit a Letter of Commitment, indicating that your organization is interested in going solar.
  • DC SUN reviews each roof via an initial assessment to make sure your building is a good fit for solar.
  • Once the participants have recruited enough organizations to participate, DC SUN issues a Request for Proposals from area installers on behalf of the group.
  • Participants then review the bids received by the group and select a single installer to complete all of the projects for the group.
  • Each participating organization then signs an individual contract with the chosen installer.
  • Systems are installed and DC SUN helps participants hold ribbon-cutting or other events to celebrate the new solar projects!

How do I get involved?

If you are interested in helping your organization go solar or helping organize a nonprofit/small business solar bulk purchase, contact us.

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