Sure, you know how much your home is worth. But how about that real estate on your roof? As anyone who has cased out a residential solar power array is well aware, not all homes are created equal when it comes to solar orientation. A new company that launched this month called Gridbid seeks to spread the solar wealth by allowing homeowners with prime orientation to auction off those hot solar rights to the highest bidder.
The highest bidder, in this case, isn’t the guy next door with the big trees crowding out his roof, but rather, one of your local solar installers. That’s because, in areas that feature a feed-in tariff (FIT) for residential renewable energy generation, local companies will pay for your rooftop solar installation in exchange for a cut of the cash you stand to make in selling your surplus solar power (i.e., what you don’t use in your home) back to the grid.
It’s a win-win situation, clearly. But how cost-effective is it for solar installers to spend a lot of time casing out houses with ideal solar orientation, then trying to explain this whole concept to homeowners–who may, at first glance, take your well-intentioned employee for a door-to-door salesman? Gridbid’s goal is to change all that by functioning as a kind of Match.com for residential solar, allowing mutually interested parties to get together on cutting utility bills and bringing more solar power to the grid.
Apparently, this is a business concept whose time has come, as the fledgling company reports that, in its first week online, it has auctioned more than $300,000 in rooftop solar projects.
To get started, the homeowner (or anyone else who owns a building with a roof) fills out a short online form noting the location of the building, the type of roofing material, and what percent of the roof is shaded during the day, along with a few other pertinent questions. Based on these factors, the company then assigns the building a Gridbid Score. Solar installers then bid for the privilege of installing that homeowner’s solar power system via an online competition, allowing Gridbid to procure multiple bids. The homeowner then gets to pick the best deal based on their household’s electricity needs.