Bringing Solar and People Together

Grassroots organizing is getting a lot of hype lately. Presidential history was just made thanks in large part to the determined will and widely-distributed wealth of the American people. In fact, I firmly believe that grassroots organizing is all that has ever brought about significant, people-friendly change in this or any country. Just look at the solar industry, which has been kept alive for the last thirty years by a handful of determined people who never stopped spreading the word. That tradition continues today, even as solar gets unprecedented corporate backing. 1BogTake One Block of the Grid (1BOG) as an example. This San Francisco-based organization helps you buy solar panels for your home through power in numbers. 1BOG aims to eliminate much of the red-tape confusion and daunting cost out of purchasing solar power systems. How do they propose to do that? By organizing homeowners at the community level. By getting people together and helping them make the move to solar together. This includes purchasing solar panels and other equipment in bulk, which has resulted in some serious discounts. They’ve already completed the process once, with their first 100 participants, and it resulted in a 43 percent lower price tag. Those are remarkable savings. I think this is a great idea for a few reasons. Obviously the hefty discounts are great. I mean…the ability of just 100 people to collectively cut their solar system costs nearly in half! That is awesome. Secondly, should the 1BOG model take off (and they are looking to develop programs in several other cities, including Denver, LA, and San Diego), it could give the people—the grassroots—a lot of purchase power. The solar industry is looking ever-more corporate. That is, I fear, instead of seeing 10 million rooftops in few years, you’ll see one thousand centralized power plants producing and transmitting solar electricity to your home at inflated, unregulated prices—hardly the solar solution most of us imagine. Here’s how I learned about 1BOG: Solar for the People

Posted on November 19 in Solar Politics by .

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