Solar Urbana Champaign
Hot on the heels of the passage of the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act (CEJA) the Solar Urbana-Champaign group buy program is gaining momentum as it surpasses its first goal of 50kW with seven properties going solar. 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 at prices lower than market rate. The program uses the combined purchasing power of the community to lower costs for a limited time.
Sustainability & Resilience Officer for the City of Urbana, Scott Tess, stated that “Solar-Urbana Champaign is helping home and business owners contribute to the State of Illinois’ new zero emissions power sector goals by 2045 by taking demand off traditional power supply and onto distributed solar.” The new State goal was mandated in CEJA, signed by Governor Pritzker last week.
Property owners who invest in solar, including participants in the Solar Urbana-Champaign program, will directly benefit from incentives that CEJA funds, namely Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs) that can reduce the price of solar by around 30%.
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. People can register for a Power Hour as well as sign up for program alerts at www.SolarUrbanaChampaign.com. Program information will also be posted at facebook.com/SolarUrbanaChampaign.
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.
“The economic benefit of solar mirrors the economic benefit of owning one’s home,” said Peter Murphy, Solar Program Director for the MREA. “With solar, you own the means of producing your electricity. Without solar, you’re essentially renting your electricity.”
“We’re trying to simplify the process of going solar,” said Murphy. “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.”
The solar installer for Solar Urbana-Champaign, New Prairie Solar, was selected through a competitive request for proposals that was reviewed by a local advisory committee looking at professional certifications, 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 www.SolarUrbanaChampaign.com. A schedule of in-person presentations is forthcoming, and will also be available on the website.
The virtual presentation schedule is as follows:
10/20/21 Wednesday 7:30-8:30PM Solar Power Hour on Zoom (click to register)
The MREA was incorporated as a 501(c)3 nonprofit shortly after the first Energy Fair in 1990. MREA’s mission is to promote renewable energy, energy efficiency, and sustainable living through education and demonstration. To learn more, call 715-592-6595 or visit www.midwestrenew.org.