Community Solar

Guy Stephens

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker recently signed a measure repealing some restrictions on state efforts to enact green policies. That's encouraged advocates of renewable energy.

Brian Haug leads the solar energy division of electrical construction company Continental Electric. He's also President of the Illinois Solar Energy Association. He spoke with WNIJ during a ribbon cutting for a solar array at a private business near Hampshire.

A northern Illinois company on Wednesday cut the ribbon on a new solar array that will supply 100% of its power needs for the next 25 years. The company's president said it will make back its investment within 5 years, with the next 20 in the plus column for its bottom line.

A lawmaker at the event applauded the state’s move to renewable energy, but said Illinois needs to take a thoughtful approach as it embraces the new technology. A solar industry representative said he just hoped the current boom in the industry continues.

 

Peter Medlin

Companies that had community solar projects picked in last month’s lottery by the Illinois Power Agency say their projects are just the tip of the iceberg.

The selected projects became eligible to obtain renewable energy credits. The credits help make the projects viable. Solar development companies behind the projects are now looking ahead to building the arrays or "solar gardens" at sites across Illinois.

 

Peter Medlin

Solar power has been used here and there in Illinois for a long time. But now the state is going for it in a big way. 

In the 19th Century, scientists discovered that you could generate electricity directly from sunlight when you arrange certain elements in a particular way. In the 1950s, scientists at Bell Labs took an element they were using to develop the first transistors – silicon – to create the photovoltaic, or PV, cells that we know today.