Three area municipalities and a non-profit organization will save a combined $14.5 million in energy costs over the next 25 years from solar energy projects approved by the State of Illinois. When "energized" it will be the largest installation of Solar Power in the Fox Valley area. The solar fields are expected be online and producing power by the 4th quarter of 2019.
The announcement was made by Progressive Business Solutions, an Aurora-based Company that helped put together the projects. Funds were made available from the Adjustable Block Program under the Future Energy Jobs Act (FEJA), passed in December of 2016. Area residents and businesses have been paying into a renewable energy fund, which is collected on each customer's monthly ComEd bill.
In accordance with the provisions under the agreements, Kendall County, the City of Plano, Fox Metro, and Mooseheart Child City and School will build in excess of 7.2 MW of solar power generation capabilities. This will generate over 12 million kWh per year and 300 million kWh over the term of the project. For reference, the average home consumes around 10,000 kWh per year. The electric power generated will be used directly by the facilities and lower their operating costs. "No new taxpayer dollars will be used to build the Solar Field," according to Arnie Schramel, Managing Partner of Progressive Business Solutions. "We helped originate, competitively bid the solar field construction, and find financial resources to fund the projects. The winning bidders will receive Renewable Energy Credits (REC's). Kendall County, the City of Plano, Fox Metro, and Mooseheart Child City & School will receive reduced cost power, which is substantially below market for a period of 25 years," per Mr. Schramel. "We could not have afforded solar without the Adjustable Block Program established by the Future Energy Jobs Act which enabled us to build the field with no upfront cost. Mooseheart invested $11.4 million into school renovations back in 2013 so we wanted to do something out of the ordinary to impact our energy budget," said Gary Urwiler, Executive Director of Mooseheart Child City and School.
Positive Impact for Our Community
"Kendall County is continually looking for ways to reduce our operating costs. This will save County taxpayers over $4 million dollars. When presented with a program that allowed us to reduce our costs without any capital investment, we decided it was a good fit for Kendall County and its residents," said Scott Gryder, Chairman of the Kendall County Board. "The City of Plano reviewed several potential locations and ultimately decided the best fit was to use vacant land next to the current water treatment plant. The solar field will help 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," said Robert Hausler, Mayor, City of Plano.
Carbon Emissions Reduction
Cost reduction is not the only benefit for the Community. By generating over 300 million kWh during the project, it will reduce Carbon Emissions by over 212,000 metric tons. According to the EPA Greenhouse Gas Equivalency Calculator, that is equivalent to eliminating over 45,000 passenger cars or eliminating 519 million gallons of gasoline.
"It is important as a municipal agency that we ensure we leave the earth in better shape than we found it. At Fox Metro, we are continually looking for ways to reduce our carbon footprint in a financially responsible manner. This project accomplishes both those goals," said Tom Muth, Executive Director at the Fox Metro Water Reclamation District.
Competition High for Solar Energy Funds
Over 3,000 projects have been submitted for consideration. It is expected that less than 30% of the applicants that applied for the program will receive funding. All four Progressive Business Solutions projects received funding which, will capture part of the $300 million-dollar fund, and ensure area residents benefit from their contributions.
Illinois Adjustable Block Program | http://www.illinoisabp.com
Progressive Business Solutions | progressivebusinesssolutions.com