Champaign County Enlists MREA’s Solar Group Buy Program
URBANA – November 17, 2015 – The City of Urbana, IL partners with the Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA) to add solar power support to both Urbana’s Climate Action Plan and the City of Champaign’s Sustainability Plan. MREA’s solar group buy program will work with home, business, and farm owners in Champaign County to lower their power bills by saving on solar through the power of volume purchasing. “The increase in renewable energy from solar panels will support both cities’ environmental initiatives, and lower power bills for participating residents.” Scott Tess, Environmental Sustainability Manager for the City of Urbana.
The Solar Urbana-Champaign Group Buy will host informational sessions known as Solar Power Hours, to educate residents on how to invest in solar installations through the power of volume purchasing. “We can offer, in an hour, what might take an individual days or weeks to research before making the choice to go solar,” said Peter Murphy, Market Development Coordinator for the MREA. “The Solar Power Hour is a convenient way to find out whether solar is right for you.”
The first Solar Power Hour will be held at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, December 2, hosted by Common Ground Food Cooperative at 300 S. Broadway Suite 166. Solar Power Hours are free and open to the public. More will occur through March, with a participation deadline of May 30th, 2016.
A solar group buy is a way for community members to use their collective buying power to reduce the cost of going solar. The Solar Urbana-Champaign Group Buy Program focuses outreach and informational sessions in Urbana and Champaign; however, the solar group buy program is available for home, business, and farm owners anywhere in Champaign County. Through a competitive bidding process, and advisory committee comprised of representatives from the City of Urbana, MREA, the Environmental Law & Policy Center, and Illinois Green Economy Network, StraightUp Solar has been chosen to be the contractor for this program.
The MREA has managed several successful solar group buys since the programs start in 2013. With most recent success in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin focused Solar East Side Group Buy. Overall, more than 90 home and business owners have used MREA’s group buy to install solar electric systems totaling 322 kW of clean energy. “Urbana is excited to be working with MREA to jumpstart the solar energy industry in our region and help our residents save money on their power bills with renewable energy” said Tess.
The City of Urbana has adopted a Climate Action Plan which includes a goal to reduce greenhouse gasses 25% by 2020 and 80% by 2050. Likewise, the City of Champaign’s “Growing Greener Sustainability Plan” aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve local energy security through the generation of renewable energy.
For more information about the group buy and to sign up for updates, visit solarurbanachampaign.com. The second Solar Urbana-Champaign session will occur at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, December 9, at the UC Independent Media Center at 202 S. Broadway, Urbana IL 61801.
The Solar Urbana-Champaign Group Buy Program is brought to you by the Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA), with support from promotional partner the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative. The MREA is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) educational organization. Founded in 1990, the MREA promotes renewable energy and sustainable living through education and demonstration. To learn more, call 715-592-6595 or visit www.midwestrenew.org.