Non-Profit Led Program Makes Solar Energy More Affordable

Tuesday, July 11, 2023

Contact: Hannah Lee Flath,, 860-634-0225
Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA), 

Non-Profit Led Program Makes Solar Energy More Affordable

Metro East, IL. -- The Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA) is excited to announce the return of the Grow Solar Metro East and Grow Solar St. Louis group buy program—also known as Grow Solar Gateway Region. In partnership with the Missouri Botanical Garden, Washington University in St. Louis, and the Piasa Palisades Group of Sierra Club Illinois, this educational and group purchasing program has helped hundreds of homeowners and businesses throughout the Gateway Region area save money on their energy bills while reducing their environmental impact. Now, with larger tax incentives and pricing below market through the program, there has never been a better time to make the switch to solar. 

The Grow Solar Gateway Region program is designed to help homeowners and small businesses throughout the region come together to learn about solar and purchase solar panels systems in bulk. By doing so, participants are able to take advantage of significant cost savings and incentives that are not available to individual buyers.

“The Grow Solar program really helped drive down the cost of the solar panel system and helped make the project work financially,” said Christopher Webb, a University City resident and Grow Solar St. Louis participant. “The team made installing solar on a 70-year-old home easy. Everything was thoroughly explained throughout the entire process. The black solar panels fit in well with my existing roof and have offset my grid energy usage by over 80% in the first month.”

Rising energy costs have many consumers looking for ways to lower their bills. Fortunately, there is a way to combat these challenges while also protecting the environment. By investing in solar energy, homeowners can dramatically reduce their monthly electricity bills right away while also protecting themselves from the uncertainties associated with future rate hikes. 

“Higher electricity prices are driving more folks to consider solar energy in Illinois,” said Kevin McKee, a volunteer in Madison County, Illinois. “This year’s lower-than-ever base price through the Grow Solar program, combined with Illinois incentives and Federal incentives, means Illinoisans can save substantially on the cost of owning their own energy source.”

The recently enacted Inflation Reduction Act includes a number of measures designed to promote electrification and renewable energy, including expanded tax credits for solar installations. Consumers who invest in solar energy this year can save thousands of dollars on their tax bill and even spread that tax benefit out over multiple years.

"We are thrilled to be able to offer the Grow Solar St. Louis and Metro East programs once again, especially when so many families and businesses are struggling with inflation," said Taylor Ball, Grow Solar’s solar program manager. "With our volume-based group buy, you can save money up-front on the solar installation, and continue to save for years to come as you enjoy clean, free electricity from your panels.”

Grow Solar St. Louis is open to residents and small businesses in St. Louis County, as well as citizens across the river in Madison, St.Clair, and Monroe Counties or in the Metro East region. Participants will have access to a range of services and support, including a free solar consultation, custom system design, installation, and ongoing maintenance. The program partners with local solar installers, which strengthens the regional economy.

“The Grow Solar program is an incredible asset not only to local consumers in the Metro East region, but also to Illinois’ work to transition to clean energy,” said Virginia Woulfe-Beile of Sierra Club Illinois. “Transitioning away from fossil fuels to energy sources like solar offers consumer savings, ensures our energy grid remains reliable, and keeps our air and water free from pollution from dirty fossil fuels.”

Grow Solar Gateway Region is based around presentations called “Solar Power Hours,” which are free, open to the public and will be held at locations across the counties and virtually via Zoom. Afterward, attendees can sign up for a free solar consultation from the program installer to see if solar is right for their property.

“Our Solar Power Hours are a relaxed space to learn the basics about solar and ask some questions,” said Jeff Schneider, Grow Solar’s communications coordinator. “Whether you go solar this year or someday in the future, understanding the technology and incentives is helpful to anyone considering ways to save money and make their home more energy efficient.”

The program’s first Solar Power Hour for St. Louis residents will be held on Zoom on July 18 from 6-7pm (register here) and for Metro East on July 20 from 5:30-6:30pm (register here). In-person Power Hour events will kick off at 2:30pm at Missouri Botanical Garden's Green Living Festival on Saturday, July 22 at the Missouri History Museum, with no registration required. Additional virtual and in-person events will be offered throughout the summer and fall. To learn more about Grow Solar Gateway Region, including the evolving schedule of Solar Power Hour presentations, visit