The pandemic has prompted many people to think differently about their daily lives, and for some this has included making the investment to make their homes more resilient with renewable solar energy. One local program, Grow Solar St. Louis, has made this process easier and more affordable for over 62 property owners who have committed to going solar in 2020.
Powered by the Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA), Grow Solar is a solar education and group-buy program empowering communities across the Midwest to invest in solar energy. MREA coordinates two Grow Solar programs in the St. Louis-Metro area: Grow Solar Metro East and Grow Solar St. Louis. 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 and the MREA. Since then, Grow Solar Metro East has resulted in more than 175 local solar installations.
In 2019, WashU partnered with the EarthWays Center and MREA to pilot a similar program in St. Louis City and County. In its first year, Grow Solar St. Louis saw an incredible surge of interest from St. Louis City and County residents with 424 KWs of renewable solar energy being added to the St. Louis area.
This year, despite a global pandemic, St. Louis proved once again that our interest in solar energy is booming! Surpassing last year’s numbers, the 2020 program will see another 456 KWs of solar added to through St. Louis City and County, as well as St. Charles County. Together, with sister program Grow Solar Metro East, program participants earned a 2% rebate for their Grow Solar systems, in addition to already lower-than-market prices through the group buy. The 447 KW of new capacity will offset over 909,589 pounds of carbon dioxide and save solar homeowners roughly $52,680 on electricity bills collectively in their first year of operation alone.
Grow Solar St. Louis is not just about purchasing solar. The program also set out to help educate the community about solar energy. As part of this mission, Grow Solar St. Louis hosted 15 Solar Power Hour webinars, with 244 attendees joining to learn about solar energy. Providing solar and energy efficiency education today pays sustainability dividends in the future when these folks decide to act, even if it is not as part of this year’s program.
With the successes of the 2019 and 2020 program years, the team is excited to start thinking about Grow Solar St. Louis 3.0, launching in spring of 2021! In the meantime, residents looking for more information about the program can visit growsolarstl.org to sign up to receive important updates about the launch of next year’s program.