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Want to go solar? SolarCity to pay $1,000 to any Airbnb host who makes the switch

Diyana Dimitrova/123RF
In an effort to urge more people to go solar, one of the nation’s leading solar power providers has announced a particularly innovative incentive program for Airbnb hosts. SolarCity — of Elon Musk fame — announced this week it plans on shelling out $1,000 to any Airbnb home sharer who uses its service to install solar panels on their home, in the form of a cash-back payment. Conversely, Airbnb says it also plans to give new and current SolarCity customers a $100 travel credit if they decide to sign up as hosts.

Announced by the two companies on October 18, the new incentive program will run through March 2017. Once this period passes, SolarCity says it still plans on rewarding Airbnb hosts for installing solar panels, however the cash-back offer will drop to $750. That’s a small drop in the bucket compared to installation costs associated with going solar — installs range anywhere from $20,000 to $30,000 depending on the company and the installation — but any amount of cash back is an attractive perk, nonetheless.

“We know specifically that our guests are looking for this when traveling,” said Chris Lehane, Airbnb head of global policy, on a press call.

Lehane’s statement is yet another indication of Airbnb’s long-standing desire to focus on being an environmentally friendly company. An independent report conducted by Cleantech Group found that staying at an Airbnb listing instead of a hotel helped travelers drastically reduce the amount of water they used, to the tune of 4.2 billion liters in 2015. The same report also discovered staying at Airbnbs rhelped reduce waste by an astounding 37,000 metric tons, equivalent to the energy consumption of 280,000 homes and the greenhouse gases of roughly 560,000 cars.

An impressive batch of statistics, no doubt. The partnership with SolarCity should give Airbnb a boost in popularity — and not just among millennials, a consumer group the company says are its most active users. SolarCity’s Airbnb incentive program is active now, and the company says it has no plan to limit the number of people eligible for the $1,000.

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