US: Online campaign to drive solar interstate

Solar group purchasing company, One Block Off the Grid, has launched an interactive online map to promote solar industry growth beyond the states that already have more advanced feed-in tariff (FIT) schemes and therefore solar economies.

The map allows visitors to click on each state, see the "report card" score on the state’s solar incentives, see how many people want solar in that state and see an estimate of how many jobs a solar incentive scheme would create.

"This campaign isn’t about selling solar. It’s about moving the U.S. economy forward," said One Block Off the Grid Founder and CEO Dave Llorens, in a statement announcing the campaign.

Once a visitor has clicked on a state, so called "groupon" deals – where consumers can pool their purchasing power to make a group purchase of panels and equipment and then collectively reap the discount for placing a larger order – in each county can be accessed. On announcing the interactive map, One Block Off the Grid also launched 2081 group deals in 34 states.

The map and campaign aims to highlight the importance of state level incentive programs in domestic photovoltaic uptake and how local legislators can have a major impact. More than this, it hopes to highlight how solar economies can bring solar jobs to a state and county.

Growth of photovoltaics in the U.S. has been dictated very much by state based FIT programs, as is evidenced by the concentration of installed capacity in states such as California and New Jersey. A recent report has shown that despite the industry growing strongly in the U.S., rather than becoming more diffuse installed photovoltaic capacity is becoming increasingly concentrated.

Llorens elaborates, "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."

One Block Off the Grid figures from its forthcoming report, "Solar Saves America: Job Creation Estimates by State", for the solar job creation statistics published in the online map. The full report will be published on August 1.

Since 2008, One Block Off the Grid has run over 50 group deals in ten states. The company will donate any profits from this most recent campaign to a micro-lending program.