SolarCity Dangles Efficiency Services

The big residential solar installer SolarCity, looking to give its energy-audit services side a boost, announced it will begin offering a “Home TuneUp” as part of its SolarLease program. The program of evaluation and repairs is being made available in California now, and will expand over the next few months in what the company called “the largest-scale rollout of integrated solar and energy efficiency services in the United States to date.”

The move comes five months after SolarCity — which finances, leases and monitors rooftop solar systems — acquired Building Solutions, an energy efficiency services and technology provider. That acquisition was key in SolarCity developing what it called “new evaluation software that customizes a Home TuneUp for each home based on the solar and energy efficiency services that deliver the best return on the homeowner’s investment.”

image via SolarCity

The company said the TuneUp — focused on air and duct sealing, pipe insulation, a programmable thermostat and efficient lighting — “will be included at no additional cost with a solar lease or purchase for a limited time,” but exactly how limited was not specified in the press release.

The company claimed the TuneUp “can reduce customers’ gas and electricity bills by an additional 10 to 50 percent on top of the savings they will see from solar installation alone.” Citing its own evaluation of more than 250 homes and statistics from the U.S. Department of Energy, it said one average homeowners lose 40 percent of their heating and cooling costs to “duct and air leakage alone.”

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Pete Danko is a writer and editor based in Portland, Oregon. His work has appeared in Breaking Energy, National Geographic's Energy Blog, The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and elsewhere.