Chicago - Smart Energy Decisions

Finance, Solar  -  February 9, 2021

Illinois energy program funds solar farm for Chicago municipalities and nonprofit

A 7.6 MW solar project that will provide clean energy to three municipalities and one nonprofit organization in the Chicago area is now fully operational and is expected to save the four recipients over $14.5 million in energy costs over the next 25 years. 

Kendall County, the City of Plano, Fox Metro and Mooseheart Child City & School were selected to receive funding for the project through the Adjustable Block Program under the Future Energy Jobs Act, passed in December 2016. Within the program, residents, businesses, governmental organizations and nonprofits pay into a renewable energy fund, which is then distributed following an application review process.

“The City of Plano and Progressive Business Solutions reviewed several potential locations and ultimately decided the best fit was to use vacant land next to the current water treatment plant,” Robert Hausler, mayor of City of Plano, said. “The solar field has helped the City save money, reduce our dependence on traditional fossil fuels and provides a good example of how the City of Plano continues to be environmental stewards for today and the future.”

The project was developed through a partnership between the municipalities, the nonprofit and project developers Progressive Business Solutions and is the largest installation of behind-the-meter solar in the Chicago metropolitan area. The solar installations are expected to generate over 12 million kWh of clean energy per year and 300 million kWh over the life of the project, avoiding 212,000 metric tons of carbon emissions.

“We want industries that create jobs in Illinois to stay in Illinois,” Rep. Keith Wheeler of Illinois' 50th district said in a statement. "The Fox Valley solar development is a testimony to the job-creation engine that solar energy has become in our state over the past few years as a result of the Future Energy Jobs Act. Utilizing the FEJA to lower their operating costs without spending new taxpayer money is a good example of our community's leadership which enabled the building of the largest solar development in our local area.”

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