Chicago to offer new rooftop PV discount programme

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In an effort to expand the number of PV installations within Chicago, the city has unveiled a new programme – through a partnership with non-profit organisation Vote Solar – that will offer rooftop PV installations throughout the summer at 25% below market rates, according to the Chicago Tribune.

The programme was created through a grant from the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), who contacted both Vote Solar and the Environmental Law and Policy Center to launch the initiative.

Sarah Wochos, co-legislative director of the Environmental Law and Policy Center, said:  “We have contacted every alderman, every neighborhood group, every book club, every chamber of commerce organisation. We see value in trying to help push these types of opportunities into the public space. The more that it happens, the quicker the market grows.”

A committee appointed Juhl Renewable Energy Systems, Microgrid Solar, Ailey Solar and Kapital Electric as contractors for the installations. These contractors will offer financing through Admirals Bank.

Working with a wide group of potential customers at the same time will help lower potential costs for these installations, according to Vote Solar.

Jessie Denver, programme director at Vote Solar, said: “It really makes going solar in this area extremely affordable and that’s what we really needed for this programme to be successful was to aggregate the demand of the community.” 

Residents within Chicago will pay US$3.49 per watt as part of the deal, while installations outside of the set area will carry an additional charge of up to 30 cents more per watt.

The unveiling of this new deal comes just about a month after Illinois governor Pat Quinn signed off on new legislation that will see US$30 million utilised by the state to buy PV renewable energy credits from existing solar installations in an effort to make it easier to pay back costs from these systems. 

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