The Fox Metro Water Reclamation District has announced that its new 2.6 megawatt (MW) solar farm was fully energized as of Wednesday, April 14, and performing as expected.
The solar farm is located on what had been a vacant 9-acre parcel at the north end of the treatment plant property which is located off Route 31 in Montgomery. The solar farm site was once part of the former Western Electric plant site. The plant was closed in the early 1990s and demolished in 1996.
In a statement, Fox Metro officials reported the solar farm will generate over 3.9 million kilowatt (kWh) of power per year, and power approximately 16% of the plant’s operations, saving the district an estimated $160,000 annually in utility costs.
“Our management team is continually looking for ways to reduce our impact on the electric grid, while maintaining safe, reliable service for area residents.” said Judith Sotir, Board President at Fox Metro in the statement.
Fox Metro provides waste water treatment service for nearly 300,000 residents living in Montgomery, Oswego, Aurora, North Aurora, Boulder Hill, Sugar Grove and portions of Yorkville and Batavia.
The solar field is owned, operated, and maintained by GRNE Solar of Palatine. GRNE Solar was awarded project through a bidding process hosted by Progressive Energy Solutions, project developer, and Fox Metro.
Progressive Business Solutions originated, developed, and competitively bid the solar field’s construction, and found the financial resources to fund the project.
“We are pleased to have delivered on our commitment to develop projects that provide environmentally friendly low-cost power for area residents,” said Arnie Schramel, Managing Partner Progressive Business Solutions in the statement.
Under a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) model, GRNE Solar designed, permitted, financed and installed the solar energy project for a 25-year term. In return, Fox Metro pays for the electricity generated by the system at a predictable price below their existing utility rate, according to information provided by Fox Metro.
Funds for all the area solar fields were made available in 2019 and 2020 from the Adjustable Block Program under the Future Energy Jobs Act (FEJA), passed by the Illinois General Assembly in December of 2016. Under the legislation, area residents, businesses, governmental organizations and non-profits all pay into a renewable energy fund, which is collected on each customer’s monthly ComEd bill. The available funds were highly competitive in that less than 30% of the applications submitted received approval.
The Fox Metro solar farm joins the City of Plano, Kendall County, and Mooseheart Child City in Batavia as the largest solar farm development in the Chicagoland and Fox Valley Area, according to the statement.