Woodstock North High will get solar farm after earlier deal canceled

Solar farm was rebid after previous contractor came back with significant price increase

The solar farm at Huntley High School on Friday, June 30, 2023. Multiple solar farms across McHenry County are being presented to the McHenry County Board creating concerns of watershed, farmland and pollinator issues.

A solar farm will be coming to Woodstock North High School.

The Woodstock School District 200 board voted this week to approve a new solar farm contract with Crystal Lake-based Althoff Industries after rescinding a contract with Palatine-based Nelnet Renewable Energy in January after that company came back with a significant price increase following approval. Officials had said at the time they planned to rebid for the solar farm.

The newly approved contract has a cost of about $4.5 million, about $200,000 of which is for 10 years of maintenance and an extended warranty, according to District 200 documents.

“Althoff Industries is very proud to have been chosen for the project. We think [it is] going to be a great for the school district,” Patti Althoff-Siwicki, sales and business development manager for Althoff Industries, said in an email to the Northwest Herald. “It means a lot to us to have been chosen for a project in our home county where we’ve done business since 1961. We look forward to getting started and doing a great job for the Woodstock schools.”

District officials declined to say if the newly approved contract was higher in price than the increased amount that was requested by the original contractor before that deal was rescinded. Superintendent Mike Moan said the district never had negotiations or an official number for the contract before it was rescinded. Moan said once a bid has a price “that’s the price you had to pay.” Moan added that the previous contract’s original nearly $3.7 million price “was an outlier.”

The district expects the solar farm to produce a little more energy than would be consumed, anticipating the district will save $2.7 million in energy costs over 20 years.

District 200 also would receive credits that exceed the $4.5 million price tag, though the district still has an estimated $250,000 of ancillary costs, including fencing and commissioning costs left to bid.

Officials estimate the district would receive just over $500,000 from a ComEd rebate, $2.9 million of credits through the Illinois Shines incentive program and an additional nearly $1.3 million of federal tax credit. Estimated credits total about $4.7 million.

“We wanted to make sure that we took advantage of every incentive and rebate available to us while meeting the goal of supplying power for Woodstock North High School,” District 200 Chief Financial Officer Julie Dillon said in an email.