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Home > Feature Articles > Alternative Energy Solutions > Solar Energy

1BOG: One Block Off The Grid -- a Collaborative Cost Saving Solar Solution

Thinking about installing a solar system, but don't know how to get a good deal? Ask 1BOG how you and your neighbors can cooperate to get a better solar deal.

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Over 1000 people signed up in the San Francisco Bay Area for a 1BOG project, and they are launching a 1BOG program in Los Angeles in early March 2009 to duplicate results in the Bay!

1BOG organizes homeowners to bargain together with businesses to drive down the costs of renewable energy installation.

1BOG launched in San Francisco in June 2008, the day after San Francisco passed GoSolarSF, the nation’s largest municipal solar incentive program. 1BOG has spread to 20 cities since its launch. 1BOG was responsible for 20% of all San Francisco properties that converted to solar in the fourth quarter of 2008. That's power!

Cooperative Purchasing of Solar Installations

Solar is expensive, it’s complex, and it’s hard to know you’re comparing apples to apples when reviewing different quotes from installers. Here’s how we make it all easier:

1BOG makes it less expensive by using the buying power of a large group to negotiate discounts that would not be possible as an individual.

1BOG makes it less complex by having 1BOG’s experts vet the technologies for consumers and take the complexity out of the equation. Then 1BOG publishes the deal that everyone is getting in an easy to digest format.

Finally, since everyone is in the same boat, you can listen to the salespeople’s proposal, and instead of wondering if you are getting a good deal and straight answers, you can just decide whether you want to do it or not based on the facts.

Solar Installation Suitability

1BOG programs are open to all residents who own their home or own and investment property. Not all homes are ideally suited for solar power. When you register for 1BOG, when the organization runs a program in your area, your home will be evaluated to ensure it is appropriate for solar. The following summarizes the solar qualification criteria below. Evaluating these can be complex, so if you’re not sure it’s always best to just get a solar quote.
  • Level of shading
  • Orientation of roof
  • Amount of space available for panel mounting
  • Roof inclination, material, condition and age
  • Electrical service requirements

How does 1BOG vet the installers?

1BOG has people from the solar industry who make the RFP process comprehensive. Plus, they also get to see the different installation practices, warranties, products offered, and corporate structure of dozens of installers across different states. They have a unique knowledge base to make sure we get a good company and negotiate a good deal. They also vet past installs done by the companies they are working with.

1BOG takes a small fraction of the discount it provides to the participants. This is taken from the installer and does not come from the participants.

How can you get your neighbors to sign up for 1BOG?

The success of the 1BOG movement depends on getting as many people to commit to using solar energy as possible. You can help spread the word about 1BOG by emailing your friends, neighbors and colleagues. If you’d like to setup a neighborhood meeting about the 1BOG program, you can contact 1BOG, and they’ll help you get organized. You can start now by using some of the handy tools available in their Field Kit.

California Cities in 1BOG

Los Angeles

San Diego

San Francisco

Bay Area - Non-SF

Chico, CA

And YOUR city is just waiting for you to help organize this practical neighborhood solution!

Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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