Renew Missouri, a non-profit clean energy advocacy group, and St. Louis-based installer StraightUp Solar are launching Renew STL Solar, a group buy program that will enable St. Louis area businesses to reduce energy costs and lower emissions by installing solar. In addition to cost savings, the program offers companies public recognition and exposure, tracks progress toward sustainability targets, and streamlines the incentive process. The program aims to place 2 MW of new solar in the region in 2021, equivalent to meeting the annual electricity needs of over 300 homes, and reducing as much carbon as planting trees across an area twice the size of Forest Park.
Renew STL Solar is designed to save building owners on the cost of installing solar by grouping similar projects together and achieving higher economies of scale on solar equipment. The more participants who install solar through the program, the more savings participants can achieve. In 2020, the program completed and installed two pilot projects at an area school district and business. In 2021, the program will see a full-scale launch, and proponents expect it to attract some of the St. Louis region’s anchor institutions, including Fortune 500 companies, municipal governments, hospitals and universities, and other large institutions.
“We created the Renew STL Solar program to meet a clear need in the commercial solar market, said Renew Missouri’s St. Louis director Andrew Linhares. “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.”
In addition to solar, the program offers options like battery storage systems and electric vehicle charging stations, all with tax benefits and utility rebates. The program will streamline this process for customers and offer flexible financing options and no-cost estimates. Renew STL Solar will also work with local municipal partners (City of St. Louis, Creve Coeur, University City) to spread the word to the local business communities.
“Our company strives to create a more sustainable world,” said Mike Hornitschek, StraightUp Solar’s VP of strategic development. “We are excited to partner with Renew Missouri on this innovative community initiative to help businesses save money and secure their energy future.”
StraightUp Solar, a turn-key, PV solar system design, installation, and maintenance company, has completed over 1,700 commercial and residential installations throughout Missouri and Illinois.
The current COVID-19 crisis presents opportunities for some businesses to create extra revenue, invest in facilities and support the growing St. Louis solar workforce. Automatic Controls Equipment Systems, a local contractor of automated equipment for facilities across the region, was one of the first program participants.
“Renew STL Solar makes it easier than ever for commercial and government organizations to reap the benefits of solar energy. Not only is the program helping us save money, but it feels great to be one of the first participants into something that’s bringing jobs and reinvestment to the St. Louis region,” said Adam Rustige, energy engineer representative for Automatic Controls.
Renew STL Solar is a commercial version of an existing group buy model currently established for homeowners in the St. Louis region. The GROW Solar St. Louis and GROW Solar Metro East programs offer homeowners the ability to save money by installing solar through their programs.
To learn more about the Renew STL Solar program, go to www.renewstlsolar.org.