A little over a year in business, One Block Off the Grid, offers collective solar bargaining for communities.
By bringing together groups of homeowners, 1BOG as it is known, can negotiate group discounts for installation of solar panels (and referral fees for itself). They also simplify the process for buyers by educating them and vetting installers.
To date the company has helped arrange the installation of hundreds of rooftop solar panels and is moving beyond its California base to work with communities in Phoenix, Denver and New Orleans (as well as launching their first East-coast program).
Speaking to the New York Times, co-founder David Llorens said:
“Over the course of 2009 we put in about 550 solar systems, which probably puts us on par with the top five installation companies.”
Just as interesting as their business model are their marketing efforts which include extensive use of social media ( they have 316,000 Twitter followers at the time of writing), recruiting neighborhood advocates and old-school faves like door-to-door canvassing and yard signs.
Which makes sense. The decision to ‘go solar’ is as much an eco decision as an economic one, putting an emphasis on the ‘campaign’ in marketing campaign.
It also provides a great roadmap for other businesses and organisations keen on replicating their model – with solar or with something else entirely.