The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) has endorsed the online solar marketplace provider EnergySage by choosing the startup to create the organization's own solar shopping tool. The SEIA EnergySage marketplace will connect consumers looking to buy solar energy with multiple SEIA member installers and financiers.

“We believe this new online solar marketplace will serve a truly essential need as more and more Americans continue to turn to solar as their top energy choice,” SEIA president and CEO Rhone Resch said in a statement.

EnergySage’s platform offers customers the chance to comparison-shop for solar installers and financing options the way they would for other products, such as insurance policies or airline flights. There are nearly 300 solar installers on the platform and all will be available on the SEIA co-branded website, even if the installers are not SEIA members.

“SEIA’s interest is having people buy solar,” said Vikram Aggarwal, CEO of EnergySage. “It also wants installers to get customers at a lower cost.” Conversion rates for customers are now more than 30 percent when they shop through EnergySage.

Not only can customers comparison-shop, but they can also get questions answered about the process of going solar. EnergySage estimates that customers can save upward of 20 percent of the total cost of a solar system by shopping through its marketplace instead of going directly to an installer.

The partnership with SEIA comes on the heels of various other agreements EnergySage has signed recently.  

Earlier this month, Local Governments for Sustainability (formerly ICLEI) chose EnergySage as the provider for its member municipalities. The online marketplace will be offered to more than 1,000 local governments that are members, nearly half of which are in the U.S., including Fort Collins, Colo., Palo Alto and Santa Cruz, Calif., Burlington, Vt. and Austin, Texas.

Cities that are not members of Local Governments for Sustainability can also receive a white-labeled version of EnergySage through WattzOn, which provides online engagement tools to municipalities, regional organizations and businesses (such as military housing contractor Balfour Beatty and the city of San Jose, Calif.) to help customers reduce energy use. While some customers want white-labeled websites, more and more are choosing co-branding as the EnergySage brand has grown in recognition.

Green America, an environmental nonprofit, also chose EnergySage earlier this summer, joining other larger nonprofits such as World Wildlife Fund that have partnered with the Boston-based startup.

Companies including Staples and Walgreens have also picked up EnergySage to offer to their customers. For Walgreens, the EnergySage marketplace is just for employees. EnergySage is also working with a number of employee benefits companies.

Staples was the first major retailer to offer the service to its customers.  By helping customers shop for solar, Staples hopes to be seen as a go-to trusted partner, especially for small and medium-sized businesses that often do not have the time or resources to evaluate solar on their own. 

EnergySage has also increased its activity in lobbying for solar. It recently joined SEIA on Capitol Hill for a lobbying day to extend the federal solar Investment Tax Credit. “It’s our mission to make the process of shopping for solar energy systems as straightforward and affordable as possible,” said Aggarwal, “and to play a key role in helping consumers get the greatest return on their solar investments.”