Grow Solar Program in the Metro-St. Louis area ends; 56 arrays to be added

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

My spouse and I care a lot about living out our sustainability values of taking care of other people and the Earth. But it wasn't until our good friends got solar panels through Grow Solar that we actually seriously looked into solar power ourselves. It was something we always thought would be out of our reach financially, but we also knew how impactful it could be - especially in a region that relies on coal. All of the amazing people in the Grow Solar program helped us navigate the rebates and tax write offs available that made this affordable for us. And, when we realized it was possible, our neighbors did, too!. Alex and I use an app to check our solar power generation every day and feel so excited that we can generate our own energy from the sun! - Lacy Cagle& Alex Pennington, 2021 Grow Solar St. Louis participants. Photo courtesy of Lacy Cagle and AlexSt. Louis, MO & Metro East, IL — The Grow Solar St. Louis and Grow Solar Metro East programs have come to an end for the year. The limited-time program gives people access to solar education and competitive prices for solar installations on residential and commercial properties through volume purchasing. Through a competitive selection process, a local advisory committee chose St. Louis-based StraightUp Solar as the program’s solar installer.

As a result of these programs, 56 households in the Metro-St.Louis region are on their way to getting clean solar energy to help meet their daily energy needs in their homes and on their properties.

Grow Solar, an initiative of the Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA), helps make navigating the solar industry more affordable for individuals with its limited-time group buy discount program. The program is built on the belief that communities are stronger when they’re composed of informed citizens and that it’s important for each individual to have a strong foundation of understanding about the technologies available to them in order to make decisions about their energy future.

Photo courtesy of Mary Asher.

“We’re trying to simplify the process of going solar,” said Peter Murphy, MREA Solar Program Director. “It can seem complicated, so we present clear information and answer folks’ questions at our Solar Power Hours -then they can determine for themselves whether solar is right for them.”

“The economic benefit of solar mirrors the economic benefit of owning one’s home,” said Murphy. “With solar, you own the means of producing your electricity. Without solar, you’re essentially renting your electricity.”

Grow Solar Metro East began in 2016 in Godfrey, IL with the help of local organizations and a partnership between Lewis and Clark Community College, The Godfrey Climate Protection and Energy Efficiency Committee and the MREA. Grow Solar Metro East has resulted in 234 residential and small commercial solar installations throughout the Metro East area equalling over 2,480 kW installed.

The EarthWays Center of the Missouri Botanical Garden partnered with Washington University in St. Louis and the MREA in 2019 to pilot a similar program in St. Louis City and County. Since then, Grow Solar St. Louis has resulted in 170 properties going solar in St. Louis City and County totaling over 1,117 kW installed.

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. Additionally, StraightUp Solar was awarded Top Workplaces 2021 honor by St. Louis Post-Dispatch back in June of 2021.

Despite the uncertainty that continued after 2020, the sister programs persisted and achieved the programs’ 1.5% rebate benchmark with 446.55 kW of contracted solar at 56 locations. The program team is happy to announce that participants in this year’s program will receive approximately $400 in average volume rebates (typical system size is an 8 kW array) on top of the already lower than market price on their systems.

Sign up for updates on the program’s website or fill out a community application to bring a Grow Solar program to your community: