Starting in November, the City of Lake Forest will join seven other local communities in receiving solar subscription credits from Illinois’ first Community Solar facility, Rainy Solar which is a 3,730-panel rooftop solar array located in Elgin, Illinois. This is a pilot program made possible by the Future Energy Jobs Act that was passed in 2016.
The facility will generate approximately 1.3 million kilowatt-hours of clean energy per year and is fully-subscribed, with Lake Forest joining Deerfield, Elgin, Glencoe, Glenview, Highland Park, Lake Bluff, and Oak Park participating in the pilot program. The solar power generated and subscribed to by these communities supply benefits in the form of lower cost renewable energy credits that will provide on-bill credits to the participating communities.
Per the subscription agreement with Rainy Solar, the City will receive a 10% discount on the energy rates charged per kilowatt-hour for each of its subscribed accounts. For the pilot program, the City was able to subscribe a portion of eight ComEd City building accounts for a total subscription value of 64,987 kilowatt-hours per year. This amount of subscription is equivalent to offsetting the annual electricity use of eight homes for an entire year. The City estimates that it could save between $6,000 and $7,500 in energy costs over the life of the subscription agreement.
Mayor George Pandaleon said participation in the pilot project is “a demonstration of the City’s commitment to work collaboratively on sustainability initiatives within the region. For nearly the past decade, the City of Lake Forest has partnered with other communities on the North Shore to promote renewable energy initiatives, and we are delighted to be among the leaders to promote Community Solar and participate in this project. It will not only save tax payer money, but will support the growth of solar energy businesses in Illinois.”
Since 2011, Lake Forest has been an active member of the North Shore Electricity Aggregation Consortium, a municipal collaborative that investigates and promotes sustainability and renewable energy initiatives throughout the region. The City is also a member of the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus’ Community Solar Clearinghouse Solutions program, which aims to simplify the Community Solar subscription process for local governments and residents. Lake Forest is hopeful that these commitments will present additional community solar subscription opportunities in the future.
In addition to supporting Community Solar, in May 2019 the City received a SolSmart Bronze designation from the national SolSmart program. This designation recognizes the City for taking steps to encourage solar energy growth and remove obstacles to solar development.
For more information on how residents and businesses can go solar in Lake Forest is available online.