Innovation That Matters

Broker creates local groups for collective solar purchasing

Property & Construction

When consumers band together, their collective ‘crowd clout‘ makes for hefty purchasing power. An example that recently came to our attention is San Francisco-based One Block Off the Grid, or 1BOG, which facilitates the group purchase of residential solar installations. How it works? 1BOG launches campaigns in various cities, each lasting a few months, during which they negotiate group discounts with carefully selected solar installers and offer local consumers access to the discounted rates via the 1BOG website. Homeowners can enter their address on the site, select their roof from an aerial view of Google maps and outline where they want the panels located. They can also view detailed information on costs, leasing options, local rebates and how long the panels will take to pay for themselves. On average, 1BOG saves customers around 15 percent, and receives referral fees from installers. To date, 1BOG has signed up over 600 homeowners across 11 US cities. In February, the company secured a USD 5 million venture capital investment which will accelerate its nationwide expansion. Studies from the International Energy Agency indicate that market penetration for solar today is less than one percent in the US. As electricity becomes more expensive and solar becomes more affordable, the demand for solar is sure to rise worldwide. One to tap into! (Related: Farmers barter produce for solar panel fundingNeighbourhood approach to renewable energyGroup buying for new parents.) Key Resources: Spotted by: Cecilia Biemann



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