State legislators visit new solar array installation at Willowbrook Wildlife Center

  • State legislators, including Rep. Terra Costa Howard, second from right, meet with staff from Illinois Solar Energy Association and DuPage County Forest Preserve District.

    State legislators, including Rep. Terra Costa Howard, second from right, meet with staff from Illinois Solar Energy Association and DuPage County Forest Preserve District. Courtesy of Aileron Communications Inc.

 
 
Updated 5/3/2021 8:20 PM

State legislators joined the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County and the Illinois Solar Energy Association on Monday, April 26, to celebrate the new solar array at the Willowbrook Wildlife Center in Glen Ellyn.

The 72 kW array is the Forest Preserve District's largest solar installation to date. The solar array will save the county $8,000 per year on energy costs and help the wildlife center continue its work of providing care and medical treatment to injured and orphaned wild animals.

 

Private donors covered the upfront investment for the system, allowing the district to take full advantage of solar savings while reducing pollution from energy generation.

The solar energy savings were also made possible by Illinois' renewable energy program, which has since stopped approving new energy projects. Illinois legislators are currently considering new legislation to support the continued growth of renewable energy in Illinois.

The system was installed by 93 Energy, a solar installation company founded in Skokie, Illinois in 2018. 93 Energy provides solar and EV charging solutions to residential, commercial and government customers across the northern Midwest.

"Reducing our communities' dependence on nonrenewable energy sources will lead to healthier outcomes for residents and the environment," said state Sen. Suzy Glowiak Hilton, D-Western Springs. "The Willowbrook solar project shows our commitment to a sustainable, cost-effective future for DuPage County."

"This project is a tremendous example of the win-win-win impacts of green energy," said state Rep. Terra Costa Howard, D-Lombard. "Thanks to the private donors who invested in this solar array, DuPage County Forest Preserves will save $8,000 a year in energy costs, the wildlife center will have an abundant, sustainable source of electricity, and we all benefit from this step forward into a clean energy future."

"This installation showcases the many benefits of solar energy," said Lesley McCain, executive director of the Illinois Solar Energy Association. "But right now, Illinois' renewable energy program is broken. There are 4,000 solar customers on a waitlist. We're asking the General Assembly to pass renewable energy legislation this session to keep renewable energy moving forward."

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