Home and business owners across Champaign County have been participating in the Solar Urbana-Champaign 2.0 program, which allows individual property owners to access lower prices for solar installations through the power of bulk purchasing.

“We actually have three separate cases where two households right on the same street are going solar through this program,” said Scott Tess, Environmental Sustainability Manager at the City of Urbana. “We’re seeing a lot of interest.”

The program just surpassed its third and final goal, 250 kilowatts, which equates to about 800 individual solar panels. Reaching this milestone triggers a rebate for all participants As of now, 34 homes will be installing 258 kW of solar and counting.

“At the benchmarks of 50 kW, 150 kW, and 250 kW, everyone in the program gets a rebate according to how much solar they install,” said Peter Murphy, Solar Program Manager at Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA). “In other words, the more people who participate, the lower the cost for all.”

“The electricity produced by the 258kW of solar we have contracted so far will offset around 468,923lbs of CO2 being released into atmosphere in the first year alone,” said Tess. “It’s a great start, and means less dependence on fossil fuels for years to come.”

"The earth receives more energy from the sun in a few hours than the world uses in one year,” said Anja Metz, a Champaign resident who is going solar through the program. “It makes sense to start using it and it is exciting to be able to produce your own power."

A celebration and contract “Signing Party” will be held this Thursday, August 31, from 5:30 PM - 8:30 PM at Riggs Beer Company (1901 S High Cross Rd, Urbana, Illinois 61802). This event is geared toward anyone who has solar or is interested in solar, and especially geared toward anyone who is going solar through this program. Would-be participants who still haven't contracted solar by August 31 can sign on site with a representative from New Prairie Construction.