Kane County Solar Project to save millions on energy costs
A 2 megawatt solar (2MW) field to be installed at the Kane County Judicial Center in Geneva will generate enough energy to save taxpayers $5 million over the next 25 years.
The solar field project, approved by the Kane County Board at the Sept. 14 meeting, will generate over 4.1 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) in its first year, with a savings of approximately $200,000 per year thereafter.
"Kane County is continually looking for ways to reduce our operating costs and this will bring a green energy solution to our most energy-consuming facility," said Kane County Board Madam Chair Corinne Pierog. "This project is a giant leap toward putting Kane County on a path to a clean energy future, and represents our commitment to implementing fiscally and environmentally responsible projects that benefit our community."
The 2 MW solar field will be owned, operated, and maintained by GRNE Solar of Palatine on land leased to them by Kane County. The county will have no upfront costs and will purchase the power from GRNE at a reduced rate.
"This development will generate over 4.1 million kWh per year and 93 million kWh over the term of the contract. For reference, the average home consumes around 10,000 kWh per year. That means that this project will generate enough energy to power 410 homes per year," said Eric Peterman, CEO of GRNE Solar.
Funding for the project will come from the new Climate and Equitable Jobs Act signed by Gov. JB Pritzker in September 2021. The act provides new money for the Adjustable Block Program, which was created under the Future Energy Jobs Act, passed in December of 2016. All ComEd rate payers, including area residents, businesses, governmental organizations and nonprofits, pay into a renewable energy fund, which is collected on each customer's monthly ComEd bill.
The approval of the solar field was a joint effort among the Kane County Energy and Environmental Committee, Progressive Business Solutions (Arnie Schramel, Managing Partner), GRNE Solar (Eric Peterman, CEO), Kane County staff and local community members.
"Kane County has a proud history of environmental stewardship and practices," said Kane County Board District 4 member Mavis Bates, who also chairs the Energy and Environmental Committee. "Beginning with our Kane County 2040 Energy Plan, published in 2011, and including the recently adopted Green Building Policy, we have created a tradition of supporting renewable energy," she added. "We are grateful to be able to put the funds collected from our taxpayers by ComEd to use in our community."
"We are pleased to have delivered on our commitment to develop projects that provide environmentally friendly low-cost power," said Arnie Schramel, managing partner at Progressive Business Solutions. "GRNE will receive Renewable Energy Credits (REC's) and Kane County will receive reduced cost power which is substantially below market for a period of 25 years."
The solar field project at the Kane County Judicial Center in Geneva will join other similar projects located throughout the Fox Valley area, including the City of Plano, Fox Metro Water Reclamation, Kendall County, and Mooseheart's Child City & School.
"Kane County is proud to be an environmental leader in the region," Bates said. "We need more renewable energy in the county and in Illinois so that we can have a healthy future for our children, grandchildren and for ourselves."
In addition to the cost savings generated by the project, it will reduce carbon emissions by over 145.3 million pounds over the next 25 years. According to the EPA Greenhouse Gas Equivalency Calculator, that is equivalent to eliminating over 14,344 passenger cars or 7.4 million gallons of gasoline.
For more information on the Illinois Adjustable Block Program, visit www.illinoisabp.com.
For additional information on GRNE Solar, visit www.grnesolar.com.