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Gridbid: Auction Off Your Sunny, Unused Roof Space

A new website helps connect you with the solar power companies that want to use your spacious roof (and pay you for the privilege).

A home is usually one of the most expensive purchases a person makes in his or her lifetime. But what if your house could make money for you?

That’s where your spacious, unused roof comes in. Gridbid, launching nationwide June 15, is a website where homeowners can put their roofs up for auction for use by one of the U.S.'s 4,000 solar power installer companies. Interested companies will bid on a rooftop, then roof-owners choose a winner based on the best deal. Homeowners pick a compensation package, like funneling profits toward a lease or mortgage financing, as well as immediately saving big on their utility bill. And companies can save 80 percent of what they would normally spend to scout rooftop locations and install power sources.

Gridbid began testing the auctioning system in California in March. It auctioned off $300,000 worth of roof space in its first week alone and has increased that figure every week since, says CEO Thomas Kineshanko. It costs a company 20 to 35 thousand dollars to install a solar power system, but the payoff is worth it in the end. "The return the installers are able to make is in many cases quite high," Kineshanko says, and homeowners offering up a roof get a nice cut of the profits. "There’s a lot of money to be made from installing solar power on roofs and it’s quite a land rush right now. [Gridbid] helps those companies reduce their costs but also helps you take advantage and get the best value you can from [your roof] space."

Solar power is quickly becoming the cheapest source of power for the home, Kineshanko says. "Homeowners save somewhere between 15 and 30 percent of their monthly utility bill," he says. "Roof space is now an asset and quite valuable, so the more you can instill competition for that space, the better deal you’re going to get as a roof owner."

And since the price of solar energy was cut in half over the past year, Kineshanko says, now’s a good time to get in on it and save the world’s energy resources at the same time.

Photo via (cc) Flickr user Eli Brown

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