The construction of a solar field next to the Kendall County Jail in Yorkville took another step toward completion Tuesday evening when the Yorkville City Council unanimously approved a special use permit for the project.
The county is planning for a series of solar panels on a 7.4-acre vacant parcel just west of the jail, to be built and maintained by GRNE Solar. The County Board approved the project last March.
Officials with Chicago-based GRNE and Aurora-based Progressive Energy Group, have said the county will see $162,000 a year in energy savings, adding up to $4 million in savings over the 25-year life of the project. No local taxpayer dollars will be used to pay for the project, according to the companies.
The construction of the solar field will be paid for with state and federal grant funds. The companies will be submitting an application to the Illinois Power Authority for grants in January, and there will be other financial incentives, as well, GRNE Solar CEO Eric Peterman told the council Tuesday.
“There’s a lot of solar development in the works right now, and there’s funding, incentive funding, from the utility companies and the state that are going to be distributed in Q1 next year,” Peterman said. “The application process opens Jan. 15. There’s been discussion of, there are more products than there is money available, so getting in on that Jan. 15 opening date is very key to be first in line to be able to receive the funding to support the project.”
Assuming the funding is approved and awarded, construction will start in April or May next year, Peterman said.
Daniel J. Kramer, an attorney representing GRNE, said the company held meetings with the adjoining subdivision’s homeowners association and with residents of the subdivision. He said two homeowners who own homes adjacent to the area where the field would be built were on record as being supportive of the project. No residents of that subdivision attended Tuesday evening’s meeting.
Mayor Gary Golinski said he appreciated that the companies met with the neighbors and the fact there were no objectors at Tuesday’s meetings “speaks volumes.” He said he understood there had been some issues with fencing and landscaping, but that those issues had been “worked out” with the neighbors.
Peterman said there have been “a lot of changes along the way” at the request of neighbors and others.
“It’s been great communication along the way,” he said.