Paneling project could help Naperville 'build up on solar'

  • The roof of the Naperville Public Works Service Center on Fort Hill Drive soon could be the site of a 50-kilowatt solar array that would generate enough to power eight homes for a year.

      The roof of the Naperville Public Works Service Center on Fort Hill Drive soon could be the site of a 50-kilowatt solar array that would generate enough to power eight homes for a year. Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

  • Naperville City Council members are set to consider a plan to install solar panels on the roof of the Public Works Service Center during a meeting Tuesday evening.

      Naperville City Council members are set to consider a plan to install solar panels on the roof of the Public Works Service Center during a meeting Tuesday evening. Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 8/19/2019 1:19 PM

Naperville could generate solar power at three municipal buildings if the city council approves plans to place sun-collecting panels on the roof of its public works facility.

The city's electric utility wants to install a 50-kilowatt solar array on the roof of the sprawling Public Works Service Center at 180 Fort Hill Drive. The panels would produce enough energy in a year to power eight homes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The array would be identical to the paneling installed on the roof of the Naperville Municipal Center, which powers the electrical outlets and phone charging stations at the new Naperville Jaycees Park outdoor workspace, said Lucy Podlesny, electric utility director.

But it would be much smaller than a planned 1-megawatt array of 3,500 panels that's set to be installed next year on six acres at the city's Springbrook Water Reclamation Center. Those panels, once installed by the city's power supplier Illinois Municipal Electric Agency, are expected to produce 1.6 million kilowatt-hours of electricity each year -- enough to power 145 homes.

The proposed public works solar project could be funded mostly by a $100,000 state grant, if city council members approve the use of $34,169 from a renewable energy fund to cover the rest of the project's cost. The council is set to consider the spending during a meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the municipal center, 400 S. Eagle St.

The state grant, from the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, is already committed, Podlesny said, with the city receiving notice of the award in May. It would come in the form of a reimbursement once the city completes the project.

"We're trying to build up on solar and be a more sustainable community," Podlesny said. "That made the decision that much easier with a $100,000 grant."

If the council approves the project, GRNE Solar of Palatine would design, build and operate the array under a $134,169 contract.

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