PROJECT PROFILE: Elevate Energy

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Project Name: Training Real Estate Professionals to Find the Value of Solar
Funding Opportunity: Solar Training and Education for Professionals (STEP)
SunShot Subprogram: Soft Costs
Location: Chicago, IL
SunShot Award Amount: $445,027
Awardee Cost Share: $23,422

Elevate Energy educates residential real estate agents, appraisers, and appraiser regulatory officials about solar energy systems through web-based, continuing education classes. The lack of current solar information for these professionals is slowing demand for residential solar by decreasing its contribution to resale value and often presenting challenges to home sellers with solar installations. The project also works to add an expanded solar component to the Multiple Listing Service, or MLS, a suite of services used by real estate professionals to establish contractual offers on properties, facilitate cooperation with other brokers, and distribute listing information.

The STEP funding program was announced in May 2016. Read the announcement.

Approach

This project focuses on training efforts for real estate professionals to teach them how to correctly identify critical characteristics of solar energy systems, how to account for solar in multiple listing service systems, and how to use this information to correctly support the fair valuation of homes with solar installations. The training is mostly online, self-led learning, as this was determined to be the most effective method for individuals working in these industries. Beta-testing will occur in the first year to ensure the program’s impact.

Innovation

Elevate Energy aims to train more than 5,000 real estate professionals, more than 700 appraisers, and more than 60 appraiser regulatory officials by the completion of this project. These professionals will be able to serve as knowledgeable members of the solar energy ecosystem, well-equipped to meet the needs of consumers who choose solar energy to power their homes and businesses. More accurate valuation of solar arrays will lower soft costs of solar by increasing the speed of transactions.