Solar Switch program can provide volume discounts on electricity
A utility watchdog has partnered with collar counties and nonprofit advocates to educate consumers on how they can install solar panels at deep discounts and save hundreds per year on electric bills.
The Solar Switch program is a partnership among Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake and Will counties, the Citizens Utility Board and Midwest Renewable Energy Association and iChoosr, a company of solar experts that manages similar programs globally.
Because of strong federal and state policies, there has never been a better time to go solar, according to Marina Minic, Citizens Utility Board solar programs coordinator.
Illinois 2021 Climate and Equitable Jobs Act and the federal Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 offer multiple incentives that can cover up to 70% of installation costs, she said.
That's in addition to volume discounts offered by Solar Switch, she added.
While its legal team challenges rate hikes, the watchdog group says it also is using clean energy as another tool to fight high utility bills.
"Solar Switch gives consumers an introduction to solar power and it offers a safe and reliable process to connect interested participants with qualified, vetted and affordable solar installers," she said this week.
The program educates consumers about taking advantage of solar power at some point or getting discounts if they're ready to go, said Jim Chilsen, communications director at CUB.
According to Minic, Solar Switch (formerly called Grow Solar Chicagoland) secures volume discounts based on the number of residents in the five counties as well as Kendall and McHenry counties who participate.
The program runs a reverse-auction process that vets quality installers to serve participants, according to CUB.
A reverse auction is being held July 5. Visit solarswitch.com/chicagoland to learn more about the program and details of how to proceed if choosing solar.
Programs like Solar Switch coupled with incentives make solar power more accessible and affordable than ever before, Chilsen added.
"CUB is all about clean and affordable energy, and this is another program to help consumers achieve that," he said.
Visit CitizensUtilityBoard.org for money-saving advice and consumer tips.