After exceeding last year’s goals with more than 120 properties committed to installing solar, the Solarize Chicagoland program kicks off this week for residents in Cook County.

For the second year in a row, Cook County is co-sponsoring Solarize Chicagoland, a program aimed at making solar more affordable and easier to attain for residents in Cook, Will, DuPage and Kane counties. The County is partnering with Citizens Utility Board and Midwest Renewable Energy Association to provide information about the benefits and savings of solar energy to both homeowners and small businesses.

Solarize Chicagoland offers an opportunity for residents to secure discounts on solar photovoltaic systems through volume purchasing. The more people choose to install solar, the lower the price becomes for everyone. Once the participants of the group collectively reach 50 kW of capacity, everyone gets an additional reduction in the price of their array. Additional price reductions occur at 150 kW, 250 kW and 500 kW.

“The more Cook County residents know about the benefits of solar energy, the more likely they are to adopt it,” said Deborah Stone, director of the Cook County Department of Environment and Sustainability. “This is a win for their pocketbooks and for our environment.”

In 2019, the program achieved commitments to install nearly 1,000 kilowatts (kW) of solar spanning over 120 properties in the Chicagoland area. In Cook County alone, 69 residents installed a total of about 422 kilowatts of solar through the program last year. Solarize Chicagoland’s solar arrays will offset emissions equivalent to approximately 800,000 pounds of coal burned. Collectively, these residents will also save an estimated $98,300 in electric bills during their first year of using solar energy.

Navigating the solar market can be intimidating and can create barriers for solar adoption. To help break down those barriers, the program will directly educate residents about solar through 25 free webinars that will be held over the summer called Solar Power Hours. The basics of solar, market trends, financials, how to participate in Solarize Chicagoland and ways to tell if a site is ready for solar, are all topics covered during the one-hour virtual Solar Power Hours. The fist Solar Power Hour for Cook County residents is scheduled for Wednesday, June 17 from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. Interested residents are asked to register beforehand.

For more information on Solarize Chicagoland and to view the complete Solar Power Hour schedule visit www.SolarizeChicagoland.com.

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About Citizens Utility Board:

Citizens Utility Board represents the interests of residential and small-business utility customers and has saved consumers more than $20 billion by helping to block rate hikes, secure refunds and fight for clean, low-cost energy. For more information, call CUB’s Hotline, 1-800-669-5556 or visit www.citizensutilityboard.org.

About Midwest Renewable Energy Association:

The Midwest Renewable Energy Association was incorporated as a 501(c)3 nonprofit shortly after the first Energy Fair in 1990. MREA’s mission is to promote renewable energy, energy efficiency and sustainable living through education and demonstration. To learn more, call 715-592-6595 or visit www.midwestrenew.org.

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