Rally Up the Groups for Solar

Written By Brianna Panzica

Posted July 20, 2011

Anyone who’s used Groupon knows how much money some of the deals can save consumers.

Whether it’s $4 AMC movie tickets, usually valued around $12, or 53% off your next haircut at the local salon, the deals can be pretty worthwhile.

Now a new company is essentially aiming to take the solar market to the same place.

One Block Off the Grid, abbreviated 1BOG, is an online company that searches for and offers group deals on solar paneling.

Started in 2008 by Dave Llorens and little more than his own personal finances, 1BOG has now received over $5 million in investments from New Enterprise Associates (NEA), the same investor that backs Groupon.

The company has worked mainly within states with strong solar subsidies, such as New Jersey and California.

It is in these states that the deals can offer the most potential. Solar subsidies cut the costs down, and with an added group discount, the savings are realistic.

It works like this: 1BOG searches for local solar companies and posts the group deals on the website.  The site shows “Active group deals on solar” and “Other places we’ve run group deals”.

If an area isn’t currently listed, potential customers can sign up to be notified when deals are available in the area.

The site has also launched a new nationwide tool called One Nation Off the Grid.

The tool shows a map and rates states on how good they are with solar. The grade is determined by factors also listed, including “number of people who want to go solar”, “counties with active group discounts”, and “number of jobs that better incentives would create”.

The website allows potential customers to actively involve themselves, providing information for state legislatures to contact to make solar more possible within the state.

According to CEO and founder Dave Llorens, there are 37 states that still lack adequate subsidies for solar.

This tool could provide some of the aid and impetus necessary to create more subsidies.

Sure, it won’t be a fast process. But any help at all is beneficial.

According to Llorens, profits from the nationwide tool will go to Kiva City, a micro lending company that provides small loans to the impoverished who cannot get necessary loans from banks.

So far, One Block Off the Grid has installed over 1,500 solar rooftops, according to Reuters.

And as BrighterEnergy.org reports, the site has already offered over 2,081 group deals since its startup.

Could this be the push behind a brighter future for solar?

Here’s to hoping.

That’s all for now,


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