Solar Urbana-Champaign 3.0 Celebrates First Solar Installations and Surpasses Savings Milestone

INFORMATION RELEASE July 10, 2018 Urbana, IL - July 9, 2018.

"I am pleased to be among the first to sign up for the Solar Urbana-Champaign 3.0 program,” said Dr. Dick Warner of Champaign. Thanks in part to Warner’s participation, the Solar Urbana-Champaign 3.0 program has recently surpassed its first program goal of 50 kilowatts of solar, triggering a price break for everyone who gets solar through the program. Mr. Warner’s new ground-mounted solar energy system will be installed this week. Once the system is completed it should produce enough electricity to cover all of his home’s annual electricity usage.

“I have been considering going solar for several years, knowing that the generation of clean energy has important social and environmental benefits,” said Warner. “In recent years, solar power has become much more cost effective. Thus, there are clear economic benefits for our household as well.” Dr. Warner has a profound appreciation of sustainability, and is a Senior Scientist at the National Great Rivers Research and Education Center.

“The organizers of the Solar Urbana-Champaign 3.0 program have been very responsive to my questions and preferences,” said Warner. “For example, I was able to purchase solar panels made in the USA, which was important to me from a jobs perspective." The solar industry employs a greater number of people than coal, oil, and natural gas combined, according to the US Department of Energy.

To increase awareness across Champaign and Piatt Counties, MREA partnered with the City of Urbana as well as Champaign-based Prairie Rivers Network (PRN), which champions clean, healthy rivers and lakes and safe drinking water to benefit the people and wildlife of Illinois.

Informational sessions called Solar Power Hours are available throughout Champaign and Piatt Counties through September which can be found online at Participants have until September 30th to go solar with the program and receive the group buy discounts.

The Solar Urbana-Champaign 3.0 selection committee chose solar installer StraightUp Solar through a competitive bidding process to provide low-cost solar energy installations and free site assessments to participants of the program based on their history of quality workmanship in Champaign and Piatt Counties.

In addition to lower-cost options to purchase a solar installation, with typical payback periods of 6-12 years, Solar Urbana-Champaign 3.0 also offers a variety of solar financing options including a residential lease, a variety of residential loan options, as well as commercial and non-profit leases and power purchase agreements (PPAs). Also new this year, Ameren Illinois electric customers who want to go solar but cannot install on their own property can sign up for a Community Solar subscription.

The program is administered by the MREA at no cost to the cities or the counties. MREA has successfully implemented similar programs in other jurisdictions in Illinois, Iowa, and Wisconsin as seen in Milwaukee, Cedar Rapids, Bloomington-Normal, and elsewhere. Solarize programs have taken place all over the country, from California to Maine.

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

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Last modified:Wednesday, July 11, 2018 - 09:27
- Author: admin