Solarize Chicagoland group-buy program bears fruit even in rough times

By Kari Lydersen, Energy News Network

As Dan Orum grilled dinner one night in early June, through an earbud in one ear he learned the ins and outs of how to get a solar installation on his home in the Chicago suburbs and collect state and federal incentives before they expire. A few days later, he had signed a contract to be part of Solarize Chicagoland, a group-buy program that has been popular in its second year, despite the pandemic’s chilling effect on the economy and the larger solar industry. 

Orum had long been interested in solar because of the environmental benefits, but had never found the time or motivation to wade through all the options and requirements. The webinar he listened to while cooking that night made it clear that the group-buy program would offer him a good price for solar with support at every step of the process, working with a developer vetted and chosen by the Midwest Renewable Energy Association and other partners. Continue reading here.

Photo by Solarize Chicagoland group-buy participant Andre Pavkovic of his home’s PV system installed by GRNE Solar, based in Lincoln, Nebraska. GRNE also has offices in Illinois, Indiana and Iowa. “Last year, the program included 124 installations for a total of 870 kW, with GRNE Solar doing the installations.”

Additional Information
Solar Group Buy Resources, Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA)

MIDWEST SOLAR SCHOOLS & POWER PURCHASE AGREEMENTS

Why America’s Schools Are Turning Into Solar Power Stations, Huff Post


Primergy, an Oakland, California, solar company nstalled the photovoltaic arrays at Galesburg, Illinois and 32 other schools in the state, including a college. The schools have power purchase agreements (PPA) with the company, meaning Primergy owns, operates and maintains the arrays. They then sell the electricity they generate exclusively to the schools, at a lower rate than they were paying for conventional electricity from the local utility company. Primergy leases the space required for the installations, too, which is extra revenue for the schools on top of their energy cost savings. Over the last few years, the vast majority of U.S. schools getting into solar have gone the PPA route.

Photo: An acre of solar panels in an old soccer practice field will power Galesburg High School.

Additional Information About PPAs
What is a solar power purchase agreement?, Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) Resource