The Renewable Energy Initiative, which has been raising awareness about solar and renewable energy investment opportunities for employers with 401(K) plans, will launch its Drive Solar electric vehicle campaign this summer.
TREI will set up electric vehicle test driving events along the Front Range of Colorado this summer with plans to expand the campaign to the Pacific Coast next spring, said TREI executive director Ken Beitel.
“If people have a chance to drive a fast, well-performing electric car and see what it can really do, there is a better chance of them buying one,” Beitel said.
Electric vehicles are efficient to begin with, he said. But electric vehicle owners who install home solar systems have the opportunity to drive for free.
There are options available today that allow homeowners to install rooftop solar arrays with no upfront costs and reduce the costs of their utility bills, Beitel said.
That makes solar and electric cars a sensible match that TREI aims to promote. Beitel is working on partnering with businesses to host up to 40 events in Colorado complete with music, food and fast cars.
TREI will launch its newest initiative at the World Renewable Energy Forum in Denver May 13-17.
The organization will moderate a panel at the forum about increasing renewable energy investment on a broad scale.
TREI’s panel will discuss electric cars, increased opportunities for solar installations and the need to make renewable energy investment an option for the 50 million Americans who have 401(K) plans.
Because renewable energy companies are typically younger with lower revenues, they don’t make the cut for the average 401(K) investment fund. TREI has been working for the last few years to get employers to renegotiate their 401(K) packages so employees have the option of investing their retirement funds in the growing solar and renewable energy industries.
SkyFuel, a solar panel manufacturer based n Golden, Colo., recently reworked its 401(K) packe through TREI, Beitel said. And the company was not only able to offer employees a clean energy investment fund, but also reduce its administrative costs so it could offer and employer match.
TREI will lead its panel discussion 10:30 a.m. May 16 and will host a reception to celebrate its successes and upcoming Drive Solar initiative Tuesday night.