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Solar Crowdsourcing: ‘One Nation Off the Grid’

| Wednesday July 20th, 2011 | 0 Comments

The networking and computing power of cloud computing and social media are enabling the “crowdsourcing” phenomenon to be harnessed by innovative solar power providers seeking to catalyze the adoption of solar and renewable power systems by US households and small businesses across the country.

With motivations firmly grounded in the Triple Bottom Line, solar group power purchasing company One Block Off the Grid (1BOG) announced the launch of “One Nation Off the Grid,” a project that offers 2,081 solar power group buying deals in 34 states, along with an interactive map chock full of granular detail on state and county clean energy policies and potential job creation should more proactive renewable power policies be adopted.

“For us, this campaign isn’t about selling solar. It’s about moving the U.S. economy forward,” One Block Off the Grid Founder and CEO Dave Llorens said in a press release. “There is now crystal clear evidence that a state’s clean energy goals and solar incentives are the single greatest factor in whether a solar market can take off in that state and solar job creation with it, yet 37 out of 50 states still don’t have strong policies in place. We got tired of waiting for politicians to do something, so we’re asking the American people start a dialogue with their state leaders, right now. We’re trying to light a fire.”

The One Nation Off the Grid project is the result of 1BOG forging 175 partnerships with solar installers across the US. All profits from the nationwide program will go to Kiva City, the US arm of microlender Kiva.org, which was launched recently in Detroit as part of a commitment previously announced at the Clinton Global Initiative America in Chicago.

“We’re thrilled that One Block Off the Grid has created an easy way for citizens to promote solar in their communities and the local job creation that goes along with that,” said Premal Shah, president of Kiva.org. “We share One Block Off the Grid’s belief that healthy local communities are key to U.S. economic renewal and that clean energy will play a big part in this renewal.”

Supporting the project, 1BOG also introduced the US Solar Market Map, “an interactive, data-driven map that shows real-time levels of homeowner solar activity” down to the county level. Also provided is information on whether or not group pricing on solar is available in a given county, assessments of each state’s clean energy policies, and estimates of potential job creation in each state should they enact stronger solar power policies.

Some 107,000 state and local jobs could be created within a short time frame should pro-solar energy policies be established in more US states and/or at the federal level; that would amount to 6%-10% of total US job creation in the past two years, according to 1BOG.

Some 245,000 jobs could be created over the longer term if US states were to adopt a feed-in tariff that pays above-market rates to homeowners that feed solar-generated electricity into the grid. There is one solar power job for every 1,000 people in Germany, 1BOG notes, where a national feed-in tariff has been instrumental in making Germany a world leader in solar power adoption, as compared to 1 for every 4,000 in the US.

1BOG will be releasing a complete report, entitled, “Solar Saves America: Job Creation Estimates by State,” on August 1.


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