We take solar education seriously around here, so any opportunity to help increase awareness and intelligence around the benefits of adopting our favorite renewable energy is something we jump on. Today, we’re taking it in a pretty exciting direction. Our parent company, Pure Energies Group, has worked out a cool partnership with Mike Holmes, host of “Holmes on Homes” on the HGTV channel and general good guy when it comes to anything home-related.
He’s got a great piece up on Make It Right already, detailing everything from how solar works to how to get the best performance from your panels when dealing with roof pitch, shading, daylight hours, and more. It’s a fantastic 101 on solar and a great place to start educating yourself.
Ever wonder what people who have been reporting on climate change think about it? Scott Thill, long-time writer and rabble-rouser for outlets like WIRED, Salon, Grist, and AlterNet, talked to 1BOG this week, delivering a wake-up call for even those of us paying attention to what’s happening to our environment. Obviously we here at 1BOG are big on all things solar, but we’re also very aware of the need for a larger scope when looking at what value we’re adding to the world so Scott’s insights are particularly awesome.
For the record, Scott has been reporting on climate change for more than ten years so he’s got some chops when it comes to what’s what. He also runs the online mag Morphizm, where he covers climate change (of course), economy, politics, and, once in a while, produces amazing pieces of smart pop culture (see this and this). Cool bonus factor: he’s a big fan of the Pixies and David Lynch. Read our interview with him below.
When did you first start reporting on climate change? What was the first story you did on the topic? How did it come about?
I became interested in the topic during grad school in the 90s, but it became a daily obsession after 9/11. Once I became an official freelance journalist in the early 00s, I started writing and reporting foundational articles on the economic recession, climate refugees (“envirogees”), exponential warming (“exponology”), extreme weather, mass extinction, geoengineering and much more for AlterNet, Salon and my own site Morphizm. But this year I shut down most of the pop and culture coverage I’ve written for Wired and others in favor of mostly enviro and economic research and reporting. We’re in a race against time, and losing.
In your view, how has the conversation changed over time? Has it become more sophisticated? White noise? Too splintered?
“Fighting fracking is unbelievable.” That understatement comes from Sharon Wilson, or TXSharon as she’s become known among the anti-fracking brigade. We got to know her when she decided to go solar through 1BOG, and we’ve been learning from her ever since.
Sharon’s commitment to anti-fracking started slowly after fracking began to happen around her in early 2000. Like everyone else in her Texas town, she thought fracking would be a great economic boon. “I thought I’d get rich,” she says. “I just wanted to hear about the money; didn’t want to hear about the environmental impact. But what was happening around me was so horrific that I couldn’t ignore it.” Read the rest of this entry »
Remember when you had to call different airlines to find the best airfare? Or comb the Sunday paper looking for ads promising a cheap flight to your favorite destination? Sure, you could have used a travel agent – for a fee. And then came Expedia.com, who rocked your world and sent you flying anywhere for the best price with no additional fees. Suddenly a massive headache was taken out of traveling.
That’s the thinking behind today’s announcement about One Block Off the Grid. We’ve partnered with major industry heavyweights – SolarCity, OneRoof, SunEdison, SunRun, and Clean Power Finance – to bring you a multitude of options that will help you go solar in the best way possible.
No matter how hard the industry tries, going solar is complicated. Heck, even taking that first step to figure out if you even should go solar is weirdly hard – figuring out which way the sun hits your roof or how much sun will be blocked by those trees your kids love to climb. We are good at helping you figure all that stuff out, and our partners know that.
Since we started in 2008, you have been our priority – and you still are. Finding the best way to get panels on your roof has always been our mission. We literally gather around each others’ computers in excitement when we see posts from homeowners on our Facebook page and blog who are so thrilled about their experience that they can’t help but want to shout it from the rooftops.
Now, we are finally able to build this incredible new way for you to find the best solar options for your home. Here’s what this means for you:
- We can now offer an array (pun intended) of the absolute best deals in solar, whether you’re interested in saving money or time, buying or leasing.
- Our solar consultants are independent and neutral. We are still all about you and only you.
- We walk you through your options, even those detailed contracts, and you get to decide what’s best for you.
- You will, always and forever, get the best deal possible. (Did we mention that?)
If you have any questions, comments are open! Or you can email me at ashley (at) 1bog (dot) org. It’s a new world in solar, folks, and we are super excited to be part of it.
Despite where you fall politically, it’s hard to overlook the strides that the US military has taken when it comes to pursuing renewable energy options. With Memorial Day upon us, we thought it would be nice to give a tip o’ the sun visor to some of the more ingenious decisions that the military has made to help save the planet.
- In January 2013, the US Army made headlines by opening the largest low-concentration photovoltaic array in the world. It’s a 4.1 megawatt ground installation in White Sands, NM. And get this: you know how we’re always talking about solar being a great way to lock in utility rates? Well, the Army has essentially done just that, which helps them stay within budget targets for the foreseeable future. Read the rest of this entry »
Summer is just around the corner, and that means long days and lots of direct sunlight beating down on rooftops across the nation. But, hey, we want to help everyone offset the rising cost of blasting the AC so from now through May 18 we’re offering a $25 Amazon gift card for every qualified referral you send our way.
Know someone with high energy bills? Or someone who only turns on the AC for an hour a day to save money? Maybe someone with a pool? (Those things are total energy hogs!) If you do, and you think they might be ready to start talking about solar, then send ‘em our way.
Of course, solar isn’t for just anyone – yet – so here are some tips to help you figure out if your neighbor/cousin/sister’s friend’s uncle would be a good fit:
- They have high electric bills, like $100 a month or more
- Their home has large, ample roof space
- There is minimal shading surrounding their home
- They have or are planning to install appliances that will increase energy usage – stuff like hot tubs, an electric vehicle, massive TVs in several rooms
- They live in an area that supports solar
If they qualify for and receive an online presentation from one of our solar consultants, you get a $25 Amazon gift card to do with as you please. To get that referral, simply share your referral link or send your referrals to our sign up page and ask them to let our solar consultants know you sent ‘em.
We’ll begin tallying referrals on May 19 and will be in touch with your results by May 31. You can also track your referrals live on your member profile page if you need immediate gratification. Good luck, and get those gift cards!
Last month, EcoOutfitters asked 1BOG to participate in one of their Solar Chats on Twitter. Now, most Twitter gatherings involve a lot of hubbub, a troll or two, and not a whole lot of substance. Fortunately, though, the EcoOutfitters team has refined these events into well-oiled machines that are not only fun and informative, but attract a fairly massive audience. At about halfway through our chat, we peaked as the top trend on Twitter. Pretty remarkable.
All that aside, it got me thinking about the various ways we use social channels to tell stories and convey information. We’ve become so accustomed to social broadcasting that we can easily convey strong storylines, messages, and ideas in as little as 140 characters. Find an inspiring article about something you care about? Blast it out on Twitter. Somebody fracking in your town and you don’t like it? Share it on Facebook. Big news you want to shout from the mountaintops? Post it on your blog and enable sharing options, then watch it gain audience. These are all linear ways of storytelling, and they’re great – even par for the course at this point. But there is a whole other breed of social media that might be even more valuable than current incumbents, and that is the visual.
Pretty exciting day here at 1BOG, and for solar in general. Our amazing parent company, Pure Energies Group, has secured $6M in funding led by heavyweight VCs NEA and NGEN. Greentech Media has a great write up about the news, “Solar Deal Maker and Lead Generator Pure Energies Wins $6M in VC.”
1BOG has been helping individual homeowners go solar for five years now, and we’ve weathered the ups and downs of the market. Now, we are beyond thrilled to be part of Pure’s vision for the future of energy.
We have more exciting news coming up that will directly impact homeowners looking to go solar in what we think is the best way possible. So, keep your eyes and ears peeled – the solar game is changing.
At One Block Off the Grid, we fundamentally understand why it’s important to educate our members about the never-ending list of why going solar simply makes sense. While we know that it will be one of the easiest decisions for a homeowner to make, we realize that it takes some of us more time to come around than others. Hey, even I’m a late bloomer about this stuff.
Lots of folks rely on a myriad of excuses not to go solar – and they are all malarkey. Naysayers gonna naysay, but after our initial post, we were inspired to take another swipe at the hilarious reasons we still hear from solar unfriendlies.
Reason #4: It’s prohibitively expensive with a significant out-of-pocket expense.
Thriving nationwide solar providers offer low upfront options with minimal capital outlay if you don’t have money to use as solar for an investment. Meaning, the homeowner would pay significantly less per month to the solar company than to the utility provider. Aw, how adorable… what an ideal utopia that would be!
Reason #5: Solar companies only provide rough estimates, then real people get screwed with the real costs.
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At One Block Off the Grid, our job is to help homeowners save money and go solar by providing the best options straight from the nation's leading solar providers.
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