NRG Home Solar is partnering with Sallie Mae’s Upromise to provide incentives to families that want to learn about residential solar power or who purchase an NRG home solar system. For families that want to learn about solar power there is a cash incentive, and for purchasing a home solar system there is a larger incentive. The Sallie Mae program is called UPromise and its members will be eligible for the NRG home solar incentives in New York, California, Connecticut, New Jersey and Massachusetts. (These states have proven to be receptive to solar power.)

Upromise was established to help families earn cash back on various common purchases that can be used to increase savings for education.

“Millions of Americans are already saving for college through Upromise by Sallie Mae and now they can save even more by learning about home solar and having solar installed on their homes. This partnership is a first for our industry that will allow us to help more families save for college and potentially reduce their electricity costs by generating clean, renewable power at home,” explained Kelcy Pegler, Jr., President of NRG Home Solar.

UPromise members in the select states referenced above can earn $50 for setting an appointment and then completing a learning session about solar power. For those members that buy a home solar system from NRG there is a $500 bonus deposited in a UPromise account.

The premise is that UPromise members can eventually save money on their electricity bills after their home solar system is paid off. The savings then can be placed in an account to pay for future educational expenses, like college tuition. Upromise’s cashback program has earned $850 million for its members so far.

That a nationwide finance company is including a home solar company’s products in its member cashback program seems to speak about how solar power is no longer a fringe consumer technology. The perception of solar used to be that it was for “greens,” “granolas,” or “enviros.” In the last several years, the price of solar power technology has decreased dramatically. Perhaps now the perception is based more on the fact that purchasing solar power systems is a good investment.

Creative partnerships and financing opportunities are helping solar power expand in America. Currently, only about one percent of U.S. electricity is generated by solar power, but that percentage is very likely to grow quickly.