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Posted: 8/7/2019 | Print Friendly Version

(ST. LOUIS) The sun is shining for home and business owners in the St. Louis area as the Grow Solar St. Louis program begins this August. The program will offer free education sessions and allow individual home and commercial property owners to access competitive prices for solar installations through volume purchasing. 

The Missouri Botanical Garden and the Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA), in partnership with Washington University and their regional climate change efforts, are supporting the bulk solar group purchase program for residents and businesses in the City of St. Louis, Clayton, Maplewood, Richmond Heights and University City. 

The program will provide residents and businesses with the opportunity to invest in their own high-quality renewable energy solar installations while saving on installation costs through a competitive bid process and state and federal tax incentives. Program promotions and educational events will occur in the areas listed, but all St. Louis City and County homeowners in the region are eligible to apply if they attend a Solar Power Hour.

Navigating the solar market can be intimidating. Over the next few months the Garden and MREA will provide several free, one-hour long educational sessions for members of the public. These “Solar Power Hours” will give prospective participants information about how solar energy works, the financial implications, how solar group buy programs are effective and more.

Program representatives will also answer questions. The program’s website, GrowSolarSTL.org, includes a sign-up form on which area residents and business owners can elect to receive an estimate or general program updates and Solar Power Hour announcements. 

The Missouri Botanical Garden’s EarthWays Center enriches lives and protects plants and the environment by working in the community to educate and connect people to practical sustainable solutions where they live, learn, work and play.

“We are always looking for effective programs in the community to help advance our clean air, water and soil initiatives to positively affect plant conservation,” said Glenda Abney, Director of Sustainability and EarthWays Center at the Garden. “This solar group-buy program will do that by reducing the need for other resources to produce energy. The program is designed to help local property owners add solar arrays and systems to their properties through community outreach and education, one of our specialties. And the group buy program will help lower the price of solar through the volume purchasing. We also like that this program reinforces the need for buildings to be energy efficient before they add renewable capacity.”

Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA) has facilitated 22 programs throughout the Midwest in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, and Iowa. They have reached over 6,300 individuals resulting in solar installations on more than 1,000 properties.

“Over the past several years we have helped educate thousands of property owners all over the Midwest about solar,” said Peter Murphy, Solar Program Manager for MREA. “There’s a huge demand for information about solar, and folks are learning that it’s no longer an inaccessible technology of the future, but rather it’s available to them right now.”

The solar installer for Grow Solar St. Louis was selected through a competitive request for proposals process reviewed by an advisory committee looking at professional certification, experience and price. The committee chose StraightUp Solar, based in St. Louis. They have high quality solar installations, are NABCEP credentialed, emphasize customer service, are very familiar with the region and have excellent history in working in solar group buy programs. 

The Grow Solar St. Louis program enables residents to effectively save resources and improve local energy security through the generation of renewable energy while simultaneously conserving energy and reducing long-term energy costs. 

The Free Solar Power Hour Presentation schedule is as follows. Check the website for additional dates to be added:

6-7 p.m., Tuesday, August 6 at Washington University Schnuck Pavilion, 1 Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO 

6-7 p.m. on Tuesday August 13 at Schlafly Bottleworks, 7260 Southwest Ave, Maplewood, MO  

6-7 p.m. on Thursday, August 15 at Pat Connolly Tavern 3201, 6400 Oakland Ave, St. Louis, MO  

6-7 p.m. on Tuesday, August 20 at Schlafly Tap Room, 2100 Locust St, St. Louis, MO  

6-7 p.m. on Wednesday, August 21 at Gezellig, 4191 Manchester Ave, St. Louis, MO  

6-7 p.m. on Thursday, August 22 at Urban Chestnut in the Grove, 4465 Manchester Ave. St. Louis, MO  

6-7 p.m. on Tuesday, August 27 at Sqwires Restaurant and Annex, 1415 S 18th St, St. Louis, MO  

6-7 p.m. on Thursday, September 5 at Our Lady of the Holy Cross, 8115 Church Rd, St. Louis, MO 

6-7 p.m. on Tuesday, September 10 at Urban Chestnut in the Grove, 4465 Manchester Ave. St. Louis, MO  

6-7 p.m. on Thursday, September 12 at Schlafly Bottleworks, 7260 Southwest Ave, Maplewood, MO  

6-7 p.m. on Wednesday, September 18 at Sqwires Restaurant and Annex, 1415 S 18th St, St. Louis, MO  

6-7 p.m. on Tuesday, October 8 at Schlafly Bottleworks, 7260 Southwest Ave, Maplewood, MO  

6-7 p.m.  on Tuesday, October 15 at Urban Chestnut in the Grove, 4465 Manchester Ave. St. Louis, MO  

6-7 p.m. on Wednesday, October 16 at Sqwires Restaurant and Annex, 1415 S 18th, St. Louis, MO 

6-7 p.m., Wednesday, October 23 at Washington University Schnuck Pavilion, 1 Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO 

7-8:30 p.m. on Thursday, October 24 at Missouri Sierra Club, 2818 Sutton Ave, St. Louis, MO  

6-7 p.m. on Wednesday, October 30 at Central Print, 2624 N 14th St., St. Louis, MO 

6-7p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 6 at Schlafly Bottleworks, 7260 Southwest Ave., Maplewood, MO  

Sign up and learn more at GrowSolarSTL.org