A solar "group-buy" program called the Solar Switch Chicagoland was recently launched to offer residential customers and small businesses in five Chicagoland counties deep discounts for quality solar installations.
As part of the partnership for the program, nonprofits the Citizens Utility Board (CUB) and the Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA) are responsible for education and program coordination, while solar experts company iChoosr serves as the manager of the program.
The program secures volume discounts for quality solar installations based on how many residents of those five counties, along with residents of Kendall and McHenry counties, participate. It runs a reverse-auction process to vet quality installers to serve participants. At each auction, there is one buyer, and invited, qualified and pre-vetted providers compete to offer the lowest bid and win the participant's business.
"Thanks to strong state and federal policy, there has never been a better time to go solar–and Solar Switch makes it an even better deal in the Chicago region," said Marina Minic, Solar Programs Coordinator at CUB.
In recent years, legislation such as the 2021 Climate and Equitable Jobs Act in Illinois and the federal Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 has been providing incentives for solar installation. These incentives can cover up to 70% of the installation costs. The Solar Switch program further offers volume discounts on top of these incentives. "It offers a safe and reliable process to connect interested participants with qualified, vetted and affordable solar installers."
CUB, MREA and the counties have been involved in a similar solar group-buy program since 2019, helping more than 280 properties go solar and educating more than 3,000 consumers.
As an independent solar group-buying specialist founded in 2008, iChoosr is active worldwide, and its collective programs in energy and solar panels have helped more than 2.2 million people save more than $760 million.
Involving iChoosr this year is expected to enable to a more streamlined process that involves multiple solar installers and can reach more consumers.
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