Solar Urbana-Champaign Group Buy’s Early Success Means Bigger Discounts for Participants
The City of Urbana, IL’s partnership with Midwest Renewable Energy Association(MREA) is already nearing its goal of 100 kW of solar installations contracted by home and business owners in Champaign county, and is on pace to surpass that goal. The program has led to support for both the City of Urbana’s Climate Action Plan and the City of Champaign’s Sustainability Plan by increasing the amount of energy produced locally by the sun, in an effort to decrease greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent in the City of Urbana by 2020.
MREA’s Solar Group Buy Program was featured in a recent blog published by Midwest Solar Expo, as one of the top five initiatives that is transforming Midwest solar markets. A solar group buy is a way for community members to use their collective buying power to reduce the cost of going solar. The program focuses on outreach and informational sessions called Solar Power Hours. These sessions educate residents about the technology itself and how to invest in solar installations through the power of volume purchasing.
Solar Urbana-Champaign was launched December 2nd. Its first Solar Power Hour was held at Common Ground Food Co-op with a standing–room only audience. To date the program has engaged over 200 people with eight face-to-face local Solar Power Hour sessions, resulting in 50kW of solar installation contracts signed, the first of which was installed today.
“It’s great to see solar panels flying off the shelves in our community due to this affordable purchasing opportunity. I hope our early success will convince folks who are on the fence to attend a Solar Power Hour and learn what they can do at their own home or business.” Says Scott Tess, Environmental Sustainability Manager for the City of Urbana.
Through a competitive bidding process and an 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.
“We are incredibly honored to have been chosen as the lead solar installer for this program, we are thrilled to help so many in Champaign County launch their solar journey and inspire others to create a sustainable world by adding solar to their homes and businesses.” Says Mike Hornitschek, StraightUp Solar Director of Strategic Development.
A little over two months into the program, MREA’s Market Development Coordinator Peter Murphy notes, “We’re seeing tremendous momentum as the program progresses. There’s a lot of support for solar in Champaign County, and we’re glad to have found great partners at the City of Urbana and such a high quality installer in StraightUp Solar.”
Program participants have a deadline of May 31st to get contracts signed. With at least eight more Solar Power Hours schedule through March, a 5-year extension on the Federal Investment tax Credit, and the new Illinois Solar Renewable Energy Credit program, Solar Urbana-Champaign is poised for success in surpassing its 100kW goal.
Visit solarurbanachampaign.com for more information and a full listing of Solar Power Hours.