The Group Buy program was integral to the formation of Wascana Solar Co-op.
We were a bunch of people looking to get together over drinks to discuss a way to group our solar installs for a reduced rate. After a lot of back and forth, we designed what was soon to be our first group buy.
It consisted of about 30 households, including board current members. We had one thing in mind—cheaper solar for all! It was a learning process to say the least. We were trying to do something that had never been done before in Saskatchewan.
It was a lot of work. Many of our volunteer directors worked plenty of evenings sorting through the participants and solar installers to find the best possible outcome.
In the end, it paid off big time. We were able to reduce project costs for our members by 10% to 20%. It paved the way for us to make this into a repeatable process.
How Does Group Buy Work?
Our Group Buy is run for members of the Wascana Solar Co-op.
A Class A share is $100 and gives you the right to attend our Annual General Meeting and vote within our Co-op. Holding a Class A membership is required to have your project inculded in a Group Buy.
We give members a chance to have their solar installation grouped with other members of the Co-op. We request a deposit for each installation and bundle the technical details together in a Request for Proposal (RFP). We send this RFP to Solar installers currently working within Regina and see who responds. We offer a large volume of work to the installer and everybody receives a better rate.
We also offer education to our members on elements that make a project successful. Items such as: Condition of the roof, location of panels, budget expectations, and details of the net metering program.
We are also working to secure financial partners so that our members have additional avenues to secure financing for their projects.
We establish selection criteria for the vendors that are approved by members from the Group Buy who volunteer to be on the selection committee. Our focus is on sourcing the best products, with the highest level of quality installation at the best possible price. We ensure providers are using top tier panels with a good warranty.
Once we have selected the best vendor for this group buy, we send notice to the participants and the winning vendor. The vendor then performs site visits to ensure the details from the technical packages match with each site, then prepares a quote for each site, in accordance with the terms and specifications outlined in the RFP process.
Participants can proceed with the quote if pleased and then deal directly with the company to line up install dates, financing, and system design.
If, for whatever reason, you participate in a Group Buy but decide to opt out, you forefit the deposit to the Wascana Solar Co-Op, but can enter into another Group Buy at a later date.
In the end, we bring forward a group of great candidates to the installers. They, in turn, give us quotes at reduced rates, and more solar panels are installed. Win, win, win.
How Does Wascana Solar Co-op Get Compensated?
Wascana Solar Co-op has a referral fee of 8% of the value of the completed project.
If you are interested in becoming a member and joining a group buy process, please fill out our Membership Form
If you are a installer looking to bid on the next Group Buy, contact our Group Buy Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org