Curious about solar power? Kansas City launches program to help homes get rooftop panels

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If you’ve been considering a switch to solar electricity to power your home, a new city initiative could help you do so at a reduced cost. A group of local organizations led by the city government has launched Solarize KC, a project encouraging residents to invest in rooftop solar panels in bulk so they’re more affordable.

“Clean, renewable solar energy should be available to each and every home in Kansas City, and this campaign will expand that opportunity for everyone,” said Mayor Quinton Lucas in a statement. “Working together, we can build a Kansas City with cleaner skies and lower power bills.”

Facilitating the project is Solar Crowdsource, a group that helps communities purchase solar panels and energy storage equipment in bulk for discounted rates. The organization is running similar campaigns in Oklahoma City, Forsyth County in Georgia and St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands. It has previously completed more than a dozen campaigns in other communities, mostly in Georgia.

The project will officially launch on June 6, but you can sign up now to get a free evaluation to see if your home is a good fit for the program.

If you want to learn more about Solarize KC, you can attend the launch event on June 6 at 6 p.m. at Operation Breakthrough Ignition Lab, 3039 Troost Ave.

It’s not yet clear how much solar panel installation would cost an average homeowner, in part because the program depends on group buying. According to the city, people in select neighborhood will be eligible for subsidies to encourage participation among “low to moderate income households.”

Home-based solar energy is a rare alternative to Kansas City’s main source of electricity, the utility giant Evergy. Advocates argue that in addition to its environmental benefits, solar energy will lead to lower electricity bills long-term.

The coalition has not released information about whether renters are able to participate in the program. In general, structural changes to a building must be approved by its owner.

We’ll continue to report on this project as more information becomes available.

Do you have more questions about renewable energy in Kansas City? Ask the Service Journalism team at kcq@kcstar.com.

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