Attracted by recent enticements and state requirements, developers are interested in building solar farms to feed utilities, including the electric grids of Commonwealth Edison – and they are searching in rural areas outside of Chicago to do this.

This is a change that many believe to be overdue. It’s a great option for providing consumers with a solar alternative. On the other hand, there is certainly opposition which has come along with this rise in solar power – mainly from residents concerned about the changing landscape.

The Energy Jobs Act is what is driving this solar boom. By the year 2025, utilities are expected to obtain a quarter of their retail power from sources which are renewable, such as wind and solar.

Solar power otherwise has not had much of an impact in IL. The state wants to change this, however, by adding close to 3,000 megawatts of solar power over the course of the next few years. This would be sufficient to power close to half a million homes. It would be a big change in the status of the state of Illinois when it comes to solar power.

Recently, the Illinois Commerce Commission accepted an update which impacts utilities – the update entails purchasing renewable/solar energy credits. This strategy, designed to satisfy the renewable/solar energy goals set forth by the state of Illinois, entails a blueprint detailing production of community solar gardens, new solar farms, and rooftop . It is expected that the result will be quick solar growth in Illinois.

Solar power corporation Cypress Creek Renewables has developed roughly 250 projects in over 12 states. There are approximately 20 ventures in development in Illinois.

Another solar developer, Community Power Group, which is based in Maryland, has 30 projects being developed throughout the state of Illinois.

As touched upon, some are concerned about their property value being diminished if crops such as soybeans are replaced with solar panels. Others are concerned about solar modules containing toxic materials. However, there is an equal amount of support (if not more) for developments such as solar gardens. Landscaping will be added to alleviate concerns regarding property value or views being diminished. According to the founder of Community Power, Michael Borkowski, any concerns regarding toxicity are unsubstantiated. His intention is to use 13 acres for a 2 megawatt garden, consisting of more than 7,600 solar panels.

The development and growth of solar installations has been spurred by The Future Energy Jobs Act, which produced a budget of over $200 million per year – this allows utilities to buy renewable energy credits while launching programs and enticements.

Enticements for rooftop solar installations has allowed yet another solar company, Sunrun, to make its way into the Illinois market. This reputable company plans to hire 80 employees and pitch homegrown energy systems.

Overall, Illinois’ status as a solar energy producer should be boosted.

In accordance with a report by Wood Mackenzie and the Solar Energy Industries Association, in 2017 alone, 30 percent of new electric generating capacity in America came from solar installations. California was at the top of the list for the United States in regard to new solar installations last year, whereas Illinois came in at number 40 amongst the states.

Many renewable energy-focused projects should pop up over the next few years. Ultimately, the move from fossil fuels to solar/renewable energy is going to get easier, while costs drop, technology gets better, and less mandates are required. Keep following the latest developments in solar news to stay in the know!

 Sources:

http://www.sj-r.com/news/20180428/solar-farms-set-to-sprout-across-illinois

https://solarpowerrocks.com/illinois/

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/media/96841697-132.html

 

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