A limited-time program kicks off in July to give people access to solar education and competitive prices for residential, business and farm solar installations through volume purchasing. Building on past successes, the City of Urbana is combining efforts with several partners to offer Solar Urbana-Champaign to property owners throughout Champaign, Piatt, and Vermillion Counties.  

In the last 5 years, Solar Urbana-Champaign has helped 241 households add affordable solar to their homes or properties, with participants saving 9% to 15% off purchase price thanks to the group buys. In total, the program resulted in over 2 megawatts of clean solar energy capacity valued at nearly $7 million.  

Area homeowners, farmers, and business owners can attend free one-hour solar Power Hour educational presentations to learn about solar energy and the benefits of volume pricing. These presentations, both online and in person, will give you the opportunity to sign up for free quotes and site assessments.  

The Midwest Renewable Energy Association is again providing program assistance, with the launch taking place at 6:30 p.m. July 29. People can register for the kick-off or other Power Hours as well as program alerts at Program information will also be posted at

“We’re really excited to join efforts so that people in Urbana and throughout Champaign, Piatt, and Vermillion Counties can learn how solar energy works and have the opportunity to purchase affordable, clean energy,” said Scott Tess, Sustainability & Resilience Officer for the City of Urbana. Supportive organizations include Prairie Rivers Network and Faith In Place.

Group purchase programs provide residents and businesses with the opportunity to invest in high-quality, renewable energy solar installations and realize savings, while also helping reach sustainability goals. Estimated first-year savings on utility bills have ranged from $690 to more than $1,000, depending on the size of the array.   

“There are problems with the way we typically buy electricity,” said Peter Murphy, solar program director with the Midwest Renewable Energy Association. “We have very little control over rate increases, we aren’t building ownership, and polluting fossil fuels still make up the main source of electricity in the Midwest. Solar mitigates or solves each of these problems.”

Murphy said that the solar installations added through the earlier group buys in the area offset the equivalent of 3,568,445 lbs of carbon dioxide in a single year. That’s the equivalent of carbon sequestered by over 1,900 acres of forest. The solar installer for Solar Urbana-Champaign, New Prairie Solar, was selected through a competitive request for proposals that was reviewed by an advisory committee looking at professional certification, experience, and price. Solar Urbana-Champaign is administered by the Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA) at no cost to the city, counties or other program partners. 

Virtual presentations are available at A schedule of in-person presentations is forthcoming, and will also be available on the website. 

The virtual presentation schedule is as follows:



Tuesday 12:00-1:00PM Solar Power Hour on Zoom (click to register) Co-host: City of Urbana


Monday 4:00-5:00PM Solar Power Hour on Zoom (click to register


Friday 12:00-1:00PM Solar Power Hour on Zoom (click to register


Last modified:Wednesday, December 8, 2021 - 10:15
- Author: BridgetB