FAQ

  • What is Groupium Solar?
    Groupium Solar is an online platform facilitating the discovery, formation and management of group based solar PV purchasing.
  • Who can use Groupium Solar
    Groupium Solar is available to all stakeholders in a solar photovoltaic (PV) group purchasing deal.
    • Buyers - who buy or lease solar systems for their rooftop, or share a community solar park.
    • Organizers - consultants who initiate and guide the creation of auction based group deals - where vendors bid to win the deal.
    • Vendors - who participate in organized group RFPs or offer their own group deals.
  • What is group purchasing?
    Group purchasing is a purchasing process wherein multiple buyers band together to join a Group Deal which provides for lower costs and better service due to the combined purchasing power of the group.

    Vendors benefit from group purchasing due to reduced customer acquisition costs when leveraging the viral marketing tools of Groupium. They also enjoy higher efficiencies attributed to aggregation of multiple projects located in the same community.
  • Other benefits provided by Groupium
    • A set of tools for buyers to self assess their roof-top solar capacity and power production.
    • Creation of personal shopping carts for solar power deals and automatic aggregation of such carts.
    • Group organizing and marketing tools.
    • Customer acquisition tools.
    • Vendor tools for creating customized contracts, calculating power generation and financing options.
  • I want to buy or lease a solar power system for my roof
    You can join a group deal for your neighborhood, put in place by a group organizer (auction based) or a vendor (vendor initiated).

    At the Home page, click on 'Start' and select rooftop solar category. Submit your request and you will be notified when a Group Deal becomes available in your neighborhood.
  • What do I do after joining a group deal?
    You are encourage to use our invitation tool (found in the group deal page) to invite your neighbors to join the deal as well. Both you and your neighbors will benefit from a larger group size which makes prices go down.
  • I cannot use my roof, what do I do?
    Many states allow their residents to buy part of a collective solar park ("solar garden" " community solar" "shared solar") and credit their utility bills from income generated by the solar park.

    You can join a community shared group deal, put in place by a vendor or a group organizer.

    At the Home page, click on 'Start' and select community shared category. Submit your request and you will be notified when a Group Deal becomes available in your neighborhood.
  • How do I inform group organizers that I want to join a Group Deal?
    At the Home page, click on 'Start' and select one of the options.You will be notified when a vendor Group Deal becomes available in your neighborhood.
  • How much does it cost to use Groupium?
    • Registration is free for all.
    • Groupium is free for buyers anf group organizers.
    • Groupium is currently free for vendors.
      Group organizers may impose a fee, to be paid by vendors, for auction based group deals. Fee terms, if any, sould be part of an RFP sent to vendors.
  • Why should I offer deals to groups of buyers?
    Groupium Solar is an online platform, facilitating the formation of buyer groups, where each group is clustered within a community. As a result, a vendor gets a ready to buy group of customers who are located in proximity to each other.

    When handling a group of buyers, a vendor achieves several advantages:
    • Lower customer acquisition costs - group members are incentivized to call on their neighbors and bring them into the group.
    • Higher closing rate - group psychology helps in convincing hesitant buyers that a deal makes sense.
    • Lower project costs - with installation sites being near each other, a single project group can cover multiple sites. Permitting and administrative costs are reduced as they can be handled as a single project
    • Lower equipment cost - due to bulk purchasing of materials.
    • Lower financing cost - due to increased volume and sharing of loan risks among multiple buyers.
  • Why should I use this platform?
    Groupium is an online platform that facilitates and automates the formation, maintenance of purchasing groups.

    It is also a marketing and referral tool referring interested buyers to a deal a vendor offers, or notifying a vendor when buyers register for a deal.

    It provides for viral marketing where homeowners are incentivized to leverage the platform for inviting their neighbors to join.

    Groupium supports the 'Group Plan' feature. With a group plan a vendor does not need to create a separate group deal for each community. Instead, a single plan automatically targets multiple communities.

    Finally, Groupium takes care of the project workflow. It facilitates the negotiation, contracting closing and fulfillment of a solar project involving groups of buyers.
  • How does it work?
    The following steps describe a Vendor Initiated Group Deal. For Auction Based Group Deals - see 'Organizers' tab.
    1. Register to our platform. It is free.
    2. Prepare and publish a Group Deal or a Group Plan (see the common terms tab).
    3. Invite prospects to join. In addition, Groupium automatically invites solar buyers who register to our website and express interest, but have not joined a solar project yet.
    4. Buyers register and submmit minimum information needed to assess their match to deals.
      Alternatively, they can fill out a 'Solar Profile' leveraging an aerial map tool. Groupium automatically calculates their equipment requirement and the electric power production capacity.
    5. Once buyers join a group deal, they are incentivized to call on their neighbors and persuade them to join the deal. Thus, creating a viral marketing campaign.
    6. To join a Group Deal, a buyer submits an individual shopping cart with items selected from a Group Deal and initial quantities computed by Groupium (buyers & vendors both, can adjust those quantities).
    7. As buyers join a Group Deal, the issuing vendor receives access to their 'solar profile', allowing a vendor to take a closer look at their requirements and offer each of them an individual contract via the Groupium platform.
    8. Throughout the life cycle of a group deal, buyers can watch as their cost is reduced when additional buyers join.
    9. When a deal closes, individual contracts are generated for each buyer.
    10. As vendors execute the project, they may use Groupium to report progress and invoice customers.

    See also a workflow of a project's life-cycle.

  • How much does it cost to use Groupium?
    • Registration is free for all.
    • Groupium is free for buyers anf group organizers.
    • Groupium is currently free for vendors.
      Group organizers may impose a fee, to be paid by vendors, for auction based group deals. Fee terms, if any, sould be part of an RFP sent to vendors.
  • What is the role of an independent Group Organizer'
    A group of buyers need an experienced group leader to guide it through the steps of executing an auction based solar project.

    A group organizer serves such a purpose and more. As a consultant to buyers, a group organizer drives outreach efforts within a community.

    • Setting up group deals for communities.
    • Managing online forums for each deal using the platform's forums tool.
    • Communicating with individual buyers through the platform.
    • Inviting buyers to join using the platform's marketing tools.
    • Encouraging buyers to invite their neighbors through the system.
    • Issuing online RFP using the platform's RFP tool.
    • Selecting a vendor.
    • Passing on final recruiting and contracting tasks to the selected vendor.
  • Who qualifies for a group organizer?
    A consultant, knowledgeable in the solar industry, with experience in performing community outreach activities, RFP solicitations and support.
  • How does an auction based group purchasing work?
    1. Register to our platform. It is free.
    2. Set up a project group
    3. Prepare and publish a Group Deal or a Group Plan (see the common terms tab).
    4. Invite prospects to join. In addition, Groupium automatically invites solar buyers who register to our website and express interest, but have not joined a solar project yet.
    5. Buyers register and submmit minimum information needed to assess their match to any deal a group organizer has preparted.
      Alternatively, they can fill out a 'Solar Profile' leveraging an aerial map tool. Groupium automatically calculates their equipment requirement and the electric power production capacity.
    6. The platform automatically creates a shopping cart for each buyer. Allowing both the buyer and the group organizer to adjust quantities and add options (adders).
    7. Once buyers join a group deal, they are incentivized to call on their neighbors and persuade them to join the deal. Thus, creating a viral marketing campaign.
    8. Once enough buyers register, group organizers start an online auction - asking qualified vendors to submit bids for the collective purchase order of individual shopping carts.
      In an RFP, a group organizer specifies price tiers (quantities). Vendors must quote a price for each tier (quantity) specified.
    9. Vendors submit their bids and the group organizer selects a winning bid.
    10. The selected vendor takes on group organization tasks, but the original group organizer can keep track and contact with members of the buying group.
    11. Throughout the life cycle of a group deal, buyers can watch as their cost is reduced when additional buyers join.
    12. The selected vendor offers individual contracts to buyers which when accepted become final.
    13. The vendor closes the group deal.

    See also a workflow of a project's life-cycle.

  • I run a Solarize campaign. How can I leverage Groupium?
  • How much does it cost to use Groupium?
    • Registration is free for all.
    • Groupium is free for buyers anf group organizers.
    • Groupium is currently free for vendors.
      Group organizers may impose a fee, to be paid by vendors, for auction based group deals. Fee terms, if any, sould be part of an RFP sent to vendors.
  • Solarize
    A state run group purchasing project where the state selects eligible communities for participating in a group purchasing of solar installation.

    The state and a community then select a solar vendor from RFP respondents.

    Finally, the selected vendor runs a marketing campaign in a community to recruit homeowners to the solar project.

    Historically, costs achieved through Solarize projects where about 20% below single home installation cost.

    See Harnessing the power of the Groupium platform in a successful 'Solarize' project.

    See also Solarize Projects across the country.
  • A Group Deal
    Group Deal refers to an offering for buyers to join a collective deal targeting a specific community.

    In a Group Deal, a vendor offers tiered pricing so that with increasing volume, prices go down. As more buyers join a group deal, the cost for all buyers goes down.
  • A Group Plan
    Group Plan is similar to a Group Deal, but it serves as a template that targets multiple communities.

    Instead of creating and manually publishing a Group Deal for each community, a vendor can create a single plan and list the regions it covers.
    When a buyer joins a Group Plan, she actually joins a Group Deal that is automatically created (if it does not already exists) that targets her community.
 
 
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