Who’s got the best deal in solar power?
One Block Off the Grid, a startup that aggregates neighbors to land cheaper rooftop solar deals, has been working on that question since its 2008 founding. Since then, it has gotten thousands of customers across the United States to sign up.
On Monday, it announced it would be doing something similar for its new owner, Canadian solar project developer Pure Energies Group, which has acquired 1BOG for an undisclosed amount. Pure Energies intends to put 1BOG’s expertise to work on a “comparison-shopping service designed to empower homeowners to get the best deal on solar power,” according to Monday’s announcement.
Toronto-based Pure Energies specializes in selling solar systems in Ontario province, where a lucrative feed-in tariff has boosted the need for solar installers, as well as ways to figure out which deals offer the best return on investment. The company has installed several megawatts of projects so far, Chris Stern, vice president of development and board member, said in a Monday interview.
While Pure Energies started out as a more traditional solar installation business, it has since shifted to a software and sales model, Stern said. The idea, he said, is to become the Expedia or Hotwire of the solar market, giving homeowners tools to find the best price for their needs, and then aggregating that demand in blocks that can be sold as financial instruments.
That lines up nicely with 1BOG’s main line of business, which is getting lots of homeowners to bid for collective megawatts of solar, improving their ability to demand lower prices. The startup has done about 9 megawatts via this method in 40 states, with a run rate of about half a megawatt per month, and hopes to double that under Pure Energies’ new ownership, Dave Llorens, 1BOG CEO and founder, said in an email.