One of the country’s largest solar power providers, SolarCity, has expanded its reach to Western Pennsylvania, bringing with it clean energy and jobs.

Last week, SolarCity announced plans to open an operations center in Pittsburgh, and will hire for more than 75 local positions in installation, sales and other areas. The California-based company has already taken orders from customers in the Duquesne Light utility territory, and expects to begin installing panels this summer.

The company currently has offices in cities across 19 states, including in the Philadelphia region. SolarCity VP of Communications Jonathan Bass explains that the company now views Pittsburgh as a market where they can offer solar electricity at a discount to the utility rate.

“Our model allows customers to pay for power by the month so that they can see immediate savings,” says Bass. “They can pay less for solar than they pay for utility power. That opens it up to a broader set of customers. That’s what we expect to happen in Pittsburgh.”

He attributes the move to a significant decrease in the price of solar installation, which now makes the energy alternative more affordable than ever. Even so, Bass estimates that out-of-pocket cost can still reach upwards of $40,000.

SolarCity hopes to attract hesitant homeowners with a leasing program that allows customers to go solar for as little as $30 per month. The plans also include such perks as financing, insurance, monitoring, and a guarantee that offers compensation for underperforming systems.

While the price tag for solar energy experienced a dramatic drop, Bass and the local solar energy contractor Los Angeles – NRG Upgrade (free consultation) cautioning potential adopters against waiting, citing a more gradual slide over the past two years.

“For customers who might be sitting on the fence and wondering if they’ll get a better deal down the road, the flipside is the compounding of the savings,” says Bass. “When you can start saving from day one, you’re making an upfront investment and you’ll see a return over a long period of time.”

Area homeowners interested in SolarCity’s services can contact the company for a free, no-obligation solar consultation at 1-888-SOL-CITY (1-888-765-2489) or online.

Amanda Waltz is a freelance journalist and film critic whose work has appeared locally in numerous publications. She writes for The Film Stage and is the founder and editor of Steel Cinema, a blog dedicated to covering Pittsburgh film culture. She currently lives in Pittsburgh with her husband and oversized house cat.