Airbnb and SolarCity, the nation’s #1 solar power provider, are announcing a new partnership that will connect Airbnb hosts and guests with an affordable and sustainable way to power their homes with solar energy, and are releasing estimates of the environmental benefits of home sharing for travelers.
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.*
Home sharing is a more environmentally sustainable way to travel. Based on methodology developed by Cleantech Group, Airbnb estimates that over the last year, by choosing Airbnb instead of hotels, Airbnb travelers in the US have reduced water and energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions and waste.
“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. 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. Cleantech Group estimated that the average Airbnb guest night results in 61% 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,” said Chris Lehane, Airbnb’s Head of Global Public Policy & Communications.
When homeowners go solar with SolarCity, they can take control of their energy needs by using solar electricity that costs less than they would pay for utility power. Solar power also enables them to secure predictable monthly costs for years into the future. 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, 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 first-hand how easy it is to use clean energy to contribute to a cleaner, healthier society.”
Experts in the environmental community and former city officials are encouraged by this type of partnership between a renewable energy provider and a hospitality company that can influence the green 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.”
“Cities need to embrace green technology in order to modernize and thrive. Solar power will allow countless citizens across the U.S. to reduce their impact on the environment and protect their home towns for future generations of residents and visitors,” said Michael Nutter, former Mayor of Philadelphia, PA and Chair of Airbnb’s Mayoral Advisory Board.
“Expanding sustainability programs, particularly in the tourism markets, is a key driver of economic development initiatives of cities across the world. 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,” said Annise Parker, former Mayor of Houston, TX and member of Airbnb’s Mayoral Advisory Board.
Airbnb commissioned a study by Cleantech Group of the environmental impacts of home sharing in 2014. See here for the Cleantech Group report. To generate the estimates included in this press release, Airbnb applied to current Airbnb data the methodology and assumptions used by Cleantech Group in its analysis and report. We used Airbnb data from over 71 million guest nights in the United States from September 1, 2015 through September 1, 2016. To determine energy savings and other environmental benefits, we compared residences to the most sustainable and energy-efficient hotels. Data compares an efficient US house to a 5th percentile efficient US hotel. This approach reflects the wide range of residential units that participate in home sharing, as well as a recognition of the best practices that have already been implemented in hotels.