Home Depot, it looks like you’ve got some feisty competition:

Similar to the “let’s bring residential to the masses” partnerships between the world’s largest home improvement retailer and Solar City and SunRun, the world’s second largest home improvement retailer, Lowe’s, has partnered with Sungevity to unroll in-store kiosks featuring IQuote, a proprietary program that harnesses advanced home mapping technology to give solar-curious shoppers free, customized residential solar installation estimates.

As part of the agreement to bring residential solar to the EPA-approved big box power tool and paint purveyor that attracts 15 million shoppers per week, Lowe's will take an undisclosed equity position in Sungevity, the Oakland-based solar powerhouse that, among other things, is the world’s fastest growing residential solar company and was a partner in the Put Solar On It campaign. The iQuote program will initially be available at select Lowe’s stores in the eight states where Sungevity operates: Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York. Eventually, the program could extend to the over 1,750 Lowe’s locations.

So how exactly does Sungevity’s iQuote process work?

A press release explains the pertinent details:

Through the agreement, Lowe’s will provide consumers with Sungevity’s quick, easy and proprietary iQuote, a process that utilizes satellite images and aerial photography to calculate a same-day, firm installation estimate, eliminating the need for a home visit. As part of the interactive, in-store experience, consumers will be able to view a rendering of the proposed installation and get a firm understanding of the cost-savings related to Sungevity’s innovative solar lease program.  Customers typically experience an immediate savings on their electricity bills through Sungevity’s solar lease, which includes monitoring, maintenance, repairs, insurance, and a money-back performance guarantee. Additionally, as part of the agreement, Lowe’s has taken an equity position in Sungevity.
Sounds good to me — it's wonderful to see residential solar, long considered inaccessible, reach the mainstream market like this and the partnership is a definite boon for the residential solar industry — although I do wonder how many harried Lowe’s shoppers with “let’s get what we need and get the hell out of here, quick” running through their minds will take the time to stop for a few minutes and get a home solar estimate. I’m guessing not that many. However, I do see the appeal to those who are serious about solar leasing and would rather stop by a familiar, nearby home improvement store for an estimate rather than book an appointment with on-site technicians.

Says Patti Price, senior vice president of merchandising at Lowe’s:

Lowe’s has always delivered innovative energy solutions for our customers and we are seeing an increased demand for solar solutions. Lowe’s new partnership with Sungevity responds to customer demand by providing a convenient and affordable process for going solar.
What do you think? Would you stop by a kiosk at your local Lowe’s store for your home solar leasing needs? 

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