Environmental Educator Flips the Switch on New Solar System

Article by: The Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA),

(St. Louis & Metro East) Residents on both sides of the river are going solar in the Gateway region. Grow Solar St. Louis and Grow Solar Metro East are sister group-buy discount and education programs that help make navigating the solar industry simpler and more affordable.

The goal of these programs is to bring property owners around the Gateway region together to lower the price of solar while simultaneously increasing the deployment of clean energy. With support of community organizers such as Missouri Botanical Garden, Midwest Renewable Energy Association, Washington University in St. LouisLewis and Clark Community College, Madison County Building & Zoning, Glen Carbon Cool Cities Committee, Sierra Club Piasa Palisades Group, Godfrey Climate Protection and Energy Efficiency Committee, and the Collinsville Cool Cities Committee, the Grow Solar program hopes to have the St. Louis and Metro East regions shining brighter with renewable solar energy.

In addition to offering homeowners a lower base price, Grow Solar St. Louis and Grow Solar Metro East offers additional price breaks as the program hits specific participation benchmarks. The program has already achieved the first of these price breaks, with over 50 kWs of solar scheduled to be installed throughout the region. Reaching this goal will result in a $0.05 per watt discount for all participants. All of this is in addition to federal incentives that can cover a large portion of the cost of going solar.

While there are many reasons residents are choosing to go solar these days, the environmental and financial impacts have never made a better case.

Grow Solar presenter Jenn DeRose, energized her system on May 25 of this year. DeRose, filled with excitement, shared on social media live as she personally flipped the switch to power her new home in South St. Louis. “I’m putting equity into my home and into my personal energy production,” said DeRose, who has helped administer the Grow Solar St. Louis program on behalf of Missouri Botanical Garden and the Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA) for the past three years, and is now participating in the program. “We see solar as a great investment into our home and for the planet.”

The Grow Solar programs enable residents to save resources and improve local energy security, conserve energy, and reduce long-term energy costs. These dual programs have resulted in over 350 installations on homes and businesses in the Gateway region since 2016.

Through a competitive selection process, an advisory committee chose St. Louis-based StraightUp Solar as the program’s solar installer. They offer high quality solar installations, certifications for solar work, emphasize education and customer service. StraightUp Solar also has an excellent history in working in solar group buy programs and is familiar with the region.

New to this year, the first 25 people to refer to someone who signs a contract will receive $500! Together, StraightUp Solar and the Grow Solar teams will help homeowners go solar.

Schedules of upcoming educational webinars and a sign up form for each program can be found at and