One Block Off The Grid? Nah, It's Now One Nation Off The Grid
No, US solar power group purchasing company One Block Off the Grid hasn't changed it's name, but it has launched a new program that takes it nationwide. Previously only residents of the largest solar markets could take advantage of the price advantages made available by joining together and negotiating better deals on solar panel installation. Now, provided there's enough interest in your county, every place in the nation is eligible. Under One Nation Off the Grid, you sign up on the site, and whenever there's a critical mass of participation--at launch there 232 of 2081 US counties, in 34 states, already have the requisite participation levels--1BOG's group solar pricing for that area becomes available.
Interestingly, all profits from the program are being donated to the Strong America Today Fund, via Kiva.org. This fund supplies microloans to small businesses in the most economically-challenged cities in the nation.
At the center of the presentation of the program is an interesting interactive national map, which details which counties already have enough interest to participate, those ones which are nearly there, and where interest is lacking. Each state also receives a letter grade on their solar incentive programs--most states don't fare well in the grading, by the way--making it easy for consumers to see what sort of incentives are available in neighboring states and (perhaps) pressure their state politicians to do more.
As 1BOG is keen to point out on the incentive front, in 2001 New Jersey had just six solar power installations in the entire states but now, largely through strong political action and legislation, is the largest solar market in the country.