GENEVA – A 2-megawatt solar 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, county officials stated in a news release.
The solar field project, approved by the Kane County Board at the Sept. 14 meeting, will generate over 4.1 million kilowatt hours in its first year, with a savings of approximately $200,000 per year thereafter, officials stated in the release. A kilowatt hour, kWh, is a unit of energy equal to one kilowatt of power sustained for one hour and is commonly used as a billing unit by utilities.
“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,” Kane County Board Madam Chair Corinne Pierog stated in the release. “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 Kane County will lease to them. The county will have no up-front 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,” Eric Peterman, CEO of GRNE Solar, stated in the release. “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.”
Funding for the project will come from the new Climate and Equitable Jobs Act signed by Illinois Governor 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 2016. All ComEd rate payers, including area residents, businesses, governmental organizations and non-profits, pay into a renewable energy fund, which is collected on each customer’s monthly ComEd bill.
The solar field was a joint effort of the Kane County Energy and Environmental Committee, Arnie Schramel, managing partner of Progressive Business Solutions, Peterman, Kane County staff and community members.
“Kane County has a proud history of environmental stewardship and practices,” Board member Mavis Bates, D-Aurora, stated in the release. Bates 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,” Bates stated in the release. “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,” Schramel stated in the release. “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 Chicagoland’s 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 stated in the release. “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.