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New ‘group-buy’ program aims to lower solar energy costs for St. Louis businesses


Clean energy advocacy group Renew Missouri is teaming up with StraightUp Solar to launch a program to reduce solar energy costs for St. Louis businesses.

“We created the Renew STL Solar program to meet a clear need in the commercial solar market,” Renew Missouri’s St. Louis Director Andrew Linhares said. “Businesses need a simplified process for installing solar in a way that will create revenue and help satisfy their sustainability objectives. We’re working with a terrific local solar company in StraightUp Solar, and we’re partnering with local municipalities to make sure businesses learn about this opportunity.”

The commercial “group-buy” program will allow local businesses to purchase solar equipment at a group rate while also gaining publicity and exposure, tracking progress toward goals, and taking part in incentive programs. The initiative will group solar projects together to bulk their equipment — the more participants, the more savings they could see. Renew STL Solar plans to place two megawatts of new solar in the area in 2021, enough to power 300 homes for a year. 

The project will also work with local communities to promote businesses taking part in the new initiative. Renew STL Solar will also offer charging stations for electric vehicles and battery storage systems, in addition to utility rebates and tax benefits. 

Mike Hornitschek, vice president of strategic development for StraightUp Solar, said the program would allow more companies to invest in clean energy while reducing equipment costs. 

“Our company strives to create a more sustainable world,” Hornitschek said. “We are excited to partner with Renew Missouri on this innovative community initiative to help businesses save money and secure their energy future.”

The program is the commercial iteration of Grow Solar St. Louis, a group-buy program for homeowners in St. Louis. The program has served more than 130 homeowners and installed 850 kilowatts of solar since it began in 2019 according to the Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA).