The Solar Urbana-Champaign group buy program is gaining momentum as it surpasses its first goal of 50kW with six properties going solar. Now in its fourth iteration, the City of Urbana, Prairie Rivers Network, and the Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA) launched this solar group buy program in May, bringing this grassroots program that combines volume purchasing with community education to make solar more accessible and affordable for area property owners. Passing the 50kW benchmark triggers a discount for program participants, like Julia Saville.
“I’m eager that as many people as possible find out about and avail themselves of the advantages that the program offers. They should know that there are small-scale ways to heal our damaged planet and these often have financial benefits too. I’m proud to be an early participant and hope that others will participate, even if they only contribute with a few panels. Every photovoltaic unit counts!” said Saville.
Solar Urbana-Champaign started Solar Power Hour informational sessions in late May. During these free, hour-long presentations, Solar Urbana-Champaign representatives give a brief explanation of the program, discuss the projected costs of installing solar and highlight the benefits of going solar. Solar Power Hour presentations run through August 24, and interested property owners have until September 30 to decide whether to participate in the program. A complete schedule of the Solar Power Hours can be found at SolarUrbanaChampaign.com.
“We’re trying to simplify the process of going solar,” Peter Murphy, Solar Program Director for the MREA, said. “It can seem complicated, so we present clear information and answer folks’ questions at our Solar Power Hours and then they can determine for themselves whether solar is right for them.”
Part of making solar simple involves helping select a solar installer to work with. Solar Urbana-Champaign’s Advisory Committee is comprised of residents of Piatt County and Champaign County. MREA issued a competitive Request for Proposals and the Advisory Committee selected a single installer, New Prairie Construction, based in Urbana, IL to help carry out the program. This way customers get the simplicity of a single installer, plus the confidence that the selection was made from a number of competitive choices. New Prairie Construction was selected because of their diverse staff of trusted, licensed, NABCEP certified solar installers and their longstanding experience and reputation in the state.