One Block Off the Grid, a start-up company run by a 32-year old former online gaming entrepreneur, is hoping the power of online group deals can do for solar what it’s done for the service industry.
“The idea was to put this online and deliver it to thousands of people at a time,” said One Block founder Dave Llorens, a man who sold solar panels prior to starting his new company. “For us, this campaign isn’t about selling solar. It’s about moving the U.S. economy forward.”
Llorens concept works like this: One Block finds locations nationwide solar panel installers are readily availiable – usually in places were there are generous subsidies for solar power. After screening said contractors and finding out if they’ll offer a discount for a “group deal,” the offer is then posted on One Block’s website.
If enough people agree buy the panels, the deal “tips,” meaning it takes place. Ordinary discounts will fall in the ball park of %15 and will be accompanied by a $500 rebate.
Sound familiar? It should, as the company is using a model almost identical to Groupon, and yeilding similar success as well. Started in 2008 by Dave Llorens with a little more than $1,000 of his own finances, 1BOG has now received over $5 million in investments from New Enterprise Associates, the same investor that backs Groupon.
According to Reuters, One Block Off the Grid has installed panels on over 1,500 rooftops to date.