Reporter K Kaufman of The Desert Sun today unveiled the upcoming Monday launch of a new 1BOG discount solar buying program in Coachella Valley.  The program will be the second with program partner, HelioPower

From The Desert Sun, “Solar panel company to offer a lower price:”

One Block Off the Grid, the San Francisco-based company that creates buyers’ groups to help bring down the cost of solar panels, is kicking off its second Coachella Valley campaign Monday, offering residents the chance to go solar for $5.29 a watt.

That’s 20 cents less than the basic price the company offered in the valley last year, when HelioPower, its local installer, put 36 systems on roofs across the region.

That success, and the business it generated, led HelioPower to open a Palm Desert office, said Scott Gordon, vice president for residential sales. The company previously handled its valley business from Murrieta.

“The reason we got the price down is now we’re local. We don’t have to account for all the mileage and the transportation for the crews,” he said.

A basic 5-kilowatt system would cost about $14,000 after the state’s solar rebate and federal tax credit, he said. The system would pay for itself within five to eight years.

For the campaign, HelioPower also will offer two higher-priced options: one at $5.49 a watt and a top-of-the-line, high-efficiency panel at $6.99 a watt.

Other area solar installers such as RealGood Solar and Solar Distributors said they are offering similar prices.

HelioPower also will offer power purchase or lease agreements where the company installs the solar panels and residents pay a low, set rate for the electricity they produce.

HelioPower 1BOG solar installation for Cecile Morgan of Rancho Mirage

HelioPower 1BOG solar installation for Cecile Morgan of Rancho Mirage

Cecile Morgan of Rancho Mirage took advantage of One Block Off the Grid’s campaign last year to put a 7.2-kilowatt system on her 2,800-square-foot home thinking it would cover about 80 percent of her and her husband’s electrical use.

“It’s doing 100 percent and a bit more, and we are stoked,” Morgan said.

“I felt comfortable with 1BOG because they vetted the installer and did all the homework,” she said. “That’s the scary part. That’s what stopped us for a very long time.”

The campaign will run from Monday through mid-January. To register, go to 1BOG’s website,

Once registered, residents will be contacted first by a 1BOG representative to ensure their home is appropriate for solar and then by HelioPower.