Cedar Rapids solar project sees success


A program in Cedar Rapids offers affordable solar power for homeowners. (flickr/Acid Pix)

Katelyn Weisbrod | August 2, 2017

A Cedar Rapids solar power program hit its first target to provide affordable solar power to interested residents.

Solarize Cedar Rapidsa group-buy program, allows Linn County residents to come together to purchase solar cell equipment in large quantities to reduce the cost for everyone.

Participants will receive their first rebate soon, as the program just surpassed its first target — 50 kilowatts of investments. The participating residents will each receive a 5-cent rebate per watt. Each watt initially costs $2.45, which is much lower than any individual would be able to get on the market.

If the program reaches three more targets — 150 kW, 250 kW, and 350 kW — participants can see an additional 15-cent-per-watt rebate on their investment.

The program began in June, and will continue to accept new participants through the end of September. Several information meetings, called “Solar Power Hours,” will be held over the next few weeks.

Although this program is the first of its kind in Iowa, dozens of group-buy solar power efforts have been successful nationwide, in cities such as Chicago, Madison, and Portland. The City of Cedar Rapids and Linn County stand behind the project, as well as several other local groups and organizations.

“Solar … prices have been coming down … and now that it’s become much more mainstream. We want people’s experiences with solar to be as streamlined as possible,” Eric Holthaus, Cedar Rapids sustainability coordinator, said to The Gazette.

Details on how to sign up can be found here.

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