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US utility National Grid has received an award from the Smart Energy Consumer Collaborative (SEPA) for simplifying the consumer solar installation process.

The 2020 Best Practices Award recognises National Grid’s 2016 partnership with EnergySage to create a utility-sponsored, first-of-its-kind online solar market for consumers in Rhode Island.

Following the success of the partnership in educating consumers on the benefits of solar energy, energy efficiency and sustainability, the programme was expanded to Upstate New York in 2018 and will soon reach Massachusetts through the Mass Save initiative.

The project has increased consumer adoption of onsite solar energy generation and supported the creation of clean energy jobs in the Northeast.

The online tool comprises:

  • A property-specific Solar Calculator for learning the costs and benefits of going solar.
  • An online Solar Marketplace for comparing multiple, custom solar quotes from local, pre-screened contractors in a standardised, apples-to-apples format.
  • A Consumer Reports-style Buyer’s Guide for learning and evaluating panels, inverters, and batteries.
  • Access to trained Energy Advisors available to customers by email and live chat, as well as by phone.

Gregory Knight, Chief Customer Officer at National Grid: “When customers have the knowledge and confidence to move forward in their solar shopping journey, they are dramatically more likely to embrace clean energy technologies and contribute to a decarbonised energy future.”

National Grid serves more than 20 million people in New York, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island.