Boom in Illinois around corporate and utility-scale solar

first_imgBoom in Illinois around corporate and utility-scale solar FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Chicago Tribune:State lawmakers are backing a proposal called Path to 100, which would provide increased funding for the future and which is sure to be subject to debate in Springfield this year and next. A proposed Clean Energy Jobs Act would also expand solar — and both would cost consumers on their electric bills.For now, advocates say the solar industry is seeing a boom in Illinois. Big-box retailers are among those jumping on the solar bandwagon. Target announced plans for rooftop solar panels at 500 locations nationally by 2020 and for a wind farm in downstate Illinois.Last year, Walmart announced plans to install solar systems at 21 sites in Illinois. But this week, the retailer also filed suit against Tesla Inc., claiming its negligence installing solar panels on store rooftops nationwide caused seven fires in recent years, forcing the retailer to disconnect 244 solar systems.Under the state’s program, the biggest plans call for building utility-grade solar farms, many of them downstate. One farm in Marengo would cover 235 acres, cost up to $30 million to build and generate 40 megawatts.In Illinois, solar power produces less than in most states, but the average household uses less electricity than in most other states, so that 40-megawatt plant would power about 6,000 homes, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association.Much of the state’s money will go to community solar projects — typically large fields of solar panels built by a private developer, which then recruits homeowners and businesses to subscribe. Those customers will in turn get credits from the state to reduce their electric bills. This allows people who live far from the solar farm — for instance, someone in a condominium in Chicago — to help pay for and benefit from solar power.More: Solar power popularity growing in Illinois, despite obstacleslast_img read more