Airbnb has formed another strategic partnership aimed at increasing the environmental benefits of home sharing: Airbnb and SolarCity, the nation’s largest solar power provider, have joined forces to connect Airbnb hosts and guests with an affordable and sustainable way to power their homes with solar energy.
Through the partnership, SolarCity will offer members of the Airbnb community cash back - up to $1,000 - on all solar panel systems. The cash back is offered to Airbnb members in each market where SolarCity currently operates, and homeowners can choose the solar option that works for their homes. Additionally, new and current SolarCity customers who become Airbnb hosts will receive an $100 Airbnb travel credit.*
According to 2014 Airbnb research, based on a methodology developed by Cleantech Group, home sharing is a more environmentally sustainable way to travel. The research estimates that in the course of a year, by choosing Airbnb instead of hotels, Airbnb travelers in the US have reduced:
- Water consumption by 4.2 billion liters, the equivalent of 1,700 Olympic size swimming pools
- Greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to keeping 560,000 cars off the road for a year
- Waste generated by 37,000 metric tons
- Energy consumption equivalent to the amount used by 280,000 homes in one year
"Since 1998 we have had 15 of the 16 hottest years recorded and climate change is changing the way we make decisions - everyone is thinking about making better use of what we have,” said Chris Lehane, Airbnb’s Head of Global Public Policy & Communications. “Travelers, especially Millennials, want a more sustainable choice and homeowners want to make better use of the 13 million empty houses and 36 million empty bedrooms in the United States alone.
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“Cleantech Group estimated that the average Airbnb guest night results in 61 percent less CO2 emissions as compared to a night in a hotel. At the same time, Airbnb is an economic empowerment tool for hosts who can use their homes - typically their greatest expense - to share space and generate a little extra money to pay the bills. We're excited to work with SolarCity to make renewable energy more affordable and accessible to everyone in the Airbnb community,” Lehane said.
As a full service provider, SolarCity makes going solar easy for homeowners by handling everything from financing and permitting to installation and maintenance. The average SolarCity solar power system is estimated to offset over 150 metric tons of carbon dioxide pollution over its lifetime, which is equivalent to leaving more than 166,000 pounds of coal unburned or offsetting 125 road trips from San Francisco to New York.
“Our partnership with Airbnb demonstrates the important role energy plays in our everyday lives – including travel – and how clean energy can reduce everyone’s carbon impact on the world,” said Toby Corey, President of Global Sales and Customer Experience at SolarCity. “Homeowners that make the simple switch to solar energy can save money on utility bills and fix their energy costs for years to come. This partnership will create the first opportunity for many Airbnb guests to stay in a solar-powered home, and allow them to experience firsthand how easy it is to use clean energy to contribute to a cleaner, healthier society.”
Clean energy advocates and former city officials commend this type of partnership between a renewable energy provider and a hospitality company that can influence the habits of millions of travelers.
"U.S. energy consumers overwhelmingly want more solar powering their homes and communities, so it's exciting to see business leaders like Airbnb working to meet that demand head on," said Adam Browning, Executive Director of Vote Solar. "This partnership shows that solar is as good for business as it is for the health of our families and stability of our climate."
"Expanding sustainability programs, particularly in the tourism markets, is a key driver of economic development initiatives of cities across the world,” said Annise Parker, former Mayor of Houston, TX, and member of Airbnb's Mayoral Advisory Board. “Through this partnership, everyday citizens who use Airbnb to host travelers and explore new destinations can protect our planet by investing in renewable and affordable solar power. This is an economic and environmental win.”
Last fall, Airbnb launched another partnership aimed at incentivizing members to switch to electric vehicles: The home-sharing giant partnered with Tesla to offer free Tesla EV charging stations (with owners responsible for installation costs) at select rental locations, starting in California. So far, there are over 80 “Tesla-ready” homes worldwide.
*Limited time offer: SolarCity will provide a $1000 cash back rebate to qualifying customers that sign a SolarLease, SolarPPA, or Purchase Agreement with SolarCity through 3/31/2017. From 4/1/2017 - 12/31/2017, the offer becomes a $750 cash back rebate. See here for more details. Airbnb will provide SolarCity customers who become hosts on Airbnb with a $100 coupon. No more than one coupon per new host. Additional terms and conditions apply.