Dazed and Confused by Solar Power?

Image by 1BOGPHOENIX

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.

Solar power lovers of the world, unite!

That could be the motto for the solar power collective, 1BOG—if co-founder Dave Llorens cared about things like mottos. 1BOG is an acronym for “One Block Off the Grid,” a concept Llorens explained over lunch recently in Phoenix where he was finalizing a decision on which of the many solar installation companies in the Valley of the Sun would be 1BOG’s “preferred installer.”

(They announced their decision yesterday: REC Solar, Inc.)

 

The part of the concept that’s most easily grasped is the CostCo Principle: You get a better price when you buy in volume.

“Obviously, price is very important,” said Llorens. “We want to make sure our customers get a good deal for their money.”

1BOG Man Llorens1BOG Man Llorens

It’s hard for a typical homeowner to buy enough solar panels to get a hefty price break. Few of us have roofs capable of supporting 5,000 panels, even if we could use a thousand kW of electricity. (What? You’re not running a super-computer yet?)

1BOG solves that problem by pooling homeowners’ need for PV. The 15% price break they eventually negotiated in Phoenix allows them to take “one block off the grid” at a time, at least conceptually. (Buyers don’t actually have to live on the same block — although the idea has a certain appeal of its own.)

There’s something more important than price, though.

“What we really offer,” says Llorens, “is a more comfortable way to go solar.” Roof-mounted PV systems are not new, but the growth of the industry has skyrocketed, and that’s had the unfortunate consequence of presenting would-be solar buyers with a bewildering number of choices: of panel types, system sizes, incentives to apply for and firms to install the array. 1BOG streamlines and untangles the process. In essence, you’re only making one major decision: to use 1BOG or not.

At a little over one year old, 1BOG understands that for their company to survive, they have to build a solid foundation of credibility themselves.

“Right now there are close to 15,000 1BOG members looking to put solar panels on their homes,” says Llorens. “We think that’s a pretty strong endorsement of our program, just a year out of the gate.”

You can visit the 1BOG site, here.

(I’ve posted a longer piece about 1BOG and REC Solar at The Phoenix Sun.)

—————–

Osha Gray Davidson is a contributing blogger at Mother Jones and publisher of The Phoenix Sun, an online news service reporting on solar energy. He tweets @thephoenixsun.

 

 

 

 

TIME IS RUNNING OUT!

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and it's truly crunch time: About 15 percent of our yearly online giving usually comes in during the final week of the year, and in "No Cute Headlines or Manipulative BS," we explain why we simply can't afford to come up short right now.

The bottom line: Corporations and powerful people with deep pockets will never sustain the type of journalism Mother Jones exists to do. And advertising or profit-driven ownership groups will never make time-intensive, in-depth reporting viable.

That's why donations big and small make up 74 percent of our budget this year. There is no backup to keep us going, no alternate revenue source, no secret benefactor. If readers don’t donate, we won’t be here. It's that simple.

And if you can help us out with a donation right now, all online gifts will be matched thanks to an incredibly generous matching gift pledge.

payment methods

TIME IS RUNNING OUT!

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and it's truly crunch time: About 15 percent of our yearly online giving usually comes in during the final week of the year, and in "No Cute Headlines or Manipulative BS," we explain why we simply can't afford to come up short right now.

The bottom line: Corporations and powerful people with deep pockets will never sustain the type of journalism Mother Jones exists to do. And advertising or profit-driven ownership groups will never make time-intensive, in-depth reporting viable.

That's why donations big and small make up 74 percent of our budget this year. There is no backup to keep us going, no alternate revenue source, no secret benefactor. If readers don’t donate, we won’t be here. It's that simple.

And if you can help us out with a donation right now, all online gifts will be matched thanks to an incredibly generous matching gift pledge.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate