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Group Discounts on Solar Power

A company that makes going "off the grid" easier and more affordable. Solar energy can be intimidating to even the most environmentally minded homeowner: Outfitting a home with solar panels is an unfamiliar process with no standardized costs and an infinite number of variables. Prospective customers must sift through competing installation bids that run in the tens of thousands of dollars and involve ever-changing technology and complex calculations of energy equivalents. "You basically need to be an engineer to evaluate the bids," says David Llorens, general manager of 1BOG, a Bay-area company that organizes bulk purchases of renewable-resource technologies.1BOG-which stands for "one block off the grid"-aims to use the power of collective buying to ease this process for homeowners. Using field organizers, the company drums up interest in solar energy among homeowners in a single city; once 100 people have signed up, they vet installation companies and negotiate a group discount. "The larger the group gets, the more negotiating power you have," Llorens says. "You get people thinking about solar energy that would never otherwise be thinking about it."1BOG is already working in five cities-San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, Denver, and New Orleans-and plans to be in 15 more by year's end. Eventually, the company may use the same model to help consumers buy other big-ticket green technologies, such as hybrid cars. "If you put in a purchase order for 100 cars at a time, you can get a huge discount," Llorens says. "The economies of scale are just amazing."Photo courtesy of 1BOGReturn to the interactive site


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via Douglas Muth / Flickr

Sin City is doing something good for its less fortunate citizens as well as those who've broken the law this month. The city of Las Vegas, Nevada will drop any parking ticket fines for those who make a donation to a local food bank.

A parking ticket can cost up to $100 in Las Vegas but the whole thing can be forgiven by bringing in non-perishable food items of equal or greater value to the Parking Services Offices at 500 S. Main Street through December 16.

The program is designed to help the less fortunate during the holidays.

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Communities

For more than 20 years. Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) has served the citizens of Maine in the U.S. Senate. For most of that time, she has enjoyed a hard-fought reputation as a moderate Republican who methodically builds bridges and consensus in an era of political polarization. To millions of political observers, she exemplified the best of post-partisan leadership, finding a "third way" through the static of ideological tribalism.

However, all of that has changed since the election of Donald Trump in 2016. Voters in Maine, particularly those who lean left, have run out of patience with Collins and her seeming refusal to stand up to Trump. That frustration peaked with the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

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Politics
via Truthout.org / Flickr and Dimitri Rodriguez / Flickr

Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign looks to be getting a huge big shot in the arm after it's faced some difficulties over the past few weeks.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a leading voice in the Democratic parties progressive, Democratic Socialist wing, is expected to endorse Sanders' campaign at the "Bernie's Back" rally in Queens, New York this Saturday.

Fellow member of "the Squad," Ilhan Omar, endorsed him on Wednesday.

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Politics
Photo by HAL9001 on Unsplash

The U.K. is trying to reach its goal of net-zero emissions by 2050, but aviation may become the biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.K. by that same year. A new study commissioned by the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) and conducted at the Imperial College London says that in order for the U.K. to reach its target, aviation can only see a 25% increase, and they've got a very specific recommendation on how to fix it: Curb frequent flyer programs.

Currently, air travel accounts for 2% of global greenhouse gas emissions, however that number is projected to increase for several reasons. There's a growing demand for air travel, yet it's harder to decarbonize aviation. Electric cars are becoming more common. Electric planes, not so much. If things keep on going the way they are, flights in the U.K. should increase by 50%.

Nearly every airline in the world has a frequent flyer program. The programs offer perks, including free flights, if customers get a certain amount of points. According to the study, 70% of all flights from the U.K. are taken by 15% of the population, with many people taking additional (and arguably unnecessary) flights to "maintain their privileged traveler status."

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