Airbnb hosts now have a major incentive to go solar. The home-sharing giant and SolarCity announced a new promotion today that will offer hosts up to $1,000 cash back if they install the solar company's panels.
The rebate is available to Airbnb hosts in the 19 states where SolarCity currently operates. Homeowners can choose the solar option that works best for their homes. The $1,000 offer is valid through March 31, 2017, after which it drops to $750 for the rest of the calendar year.
It was also announced today that new and current SolarCity customers who become Airbnb hosts will also get a $100 credit for a stay at an Airbnb property when they travel.
"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," said Chris Lehane, Airbnb's head of global public policy and communications. "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."
Travel can be an extremely carbon- and energy-intensive activity. Airbnb believes that staying at one of their rentals is better for the environment than staying at a typical hotel.
"Cleantech Group estimated that the average Airbnb guest night results in 61 percent less CO2 emissions as compared to a night in a hotel," Lehane said. The group also found that Airbnb travelers in the U.S. have saved 4.2 billions liters of water and cut back on greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to keeping 560,000 cars off the road for a year.
"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," Lehane added.
Lehane explained on a press call today that the partnership makes sense because both SolarCity customers and Airbnb users tend to look for ways to lower their environmental footprint, TechCrunch reported.
Toby Corey, president of global sales and customer experience at SolarCity, said that the new 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."
SolarCity says that its solar systems offset an estimated 150 metric tons of carbon dioxide pollution over its lifetime.
According to TechCrunch, Corey explained that since most of SolarCity's customers opt for the zero money down financing plan for installations, the $1,000 credit will be applied to their payback, reducing the overall repayment period.
The new partnership comes right before a shareholder vote on SolarCity's multibillion dollar merger with electric car company Tesla.
Tesla CEO and SolarCity chairman Elon Musk has an ambitious plan, dubbed Master Plan, Part Deux, of vertically integrating his two companies to seamlessly sell SolarCity's rooftop solar systems with Tesla's batteries.