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State awards grants for three Kendall County area solar projects

Projects in Montgomery, Yorkville and Plano expected to be operational late this year

Three solar energy projects in Kendall County and a fourth in Kane County have been awarded funding through a State of Illinois grant program.
Three solar energy projects in Kendall County and a fourth in Kane County have been awarded funding through a State of Illinois grant program.

Three Kendall County area solar energy projects and a fourth at the Mooseheart Child City and School in Batavia have been awarded funding from a State of Illinois program.

Kendall County, the Fox Metro Water Reclamation District near Montgomery, the city of Plano and Mooseheart will receive funds for their solar projects through an adjustable block grant program under the state's Future Energy Jobs Act, passed by the General Assembly in December of 2016.

Residents and businesses have been paying into a renewable energy fund, which is collected on each customer’s monthly ComEd bill.

The Aurora-based Progressive Business Solutions is serving as a consultant on each of the four solar projects.

The four entities expect to have their solar fields operational by the fourth quarter of this year.

According to Progressive Business Solutions, the four solar fields are expected to save a combined $14.5 million in energy costs over the next 25 years.

In accordance with the provisions under the agreements, Kendall County, Plano, Fox Metro and Mooseheart will build in excess of 7.2 MW (megawatt) of solar power generation facilities. This will generate over 12 million kWh (kilowatts) per year and 300 million kWh over the term of the project. For reference, the average home consumes around 10,000 kWh per year. The electric power generated will be used directly by the entities and allow them to lower their operating costs.

“No new taxpayer dollars will be used to build the solar fields, said Arnie Schramel, managing partner of Progressive Business Solutions. “We helped originate, competitively bid the solar field construction and find financial resources to fund the projects."

The winning bidders will receive Renewable Energy Credits (RECs). Kendall County, the City of Plano, Fox Metro, and Mooseheart will receive reduced cost power, which is substantially below market for a period of 25 years.

Kendall County's solar field will be located on a vacant, county-owned parcel adjacent to the County Jail in Yorkville, while Fox Metro's will be sited on property along the west bank of the Fox River, just south of the Route 30 bridge. The property previously served as the site of the Western Electric plant which was demolished in 1996.

“Kendall County is continually looking for ways to reduce our operating costs. This will save county taxpayers over $4 million. When presented with a program that allowed us to reduce our costs without any capital investment, we decided it was a good fit for Kendall County and its residents,” said Scott Gryder, county board chairman.

“It is important as a municipal agency that we ensure we leave the earth in better shape than we found it. At Fox Metro, we are continually looking for ways to reduce our carbon footprint in a financially responsible manner. This project accomplishes both those goals.” said Tom Muth, Executive Director at the Fox Metro Water Reclamation District.

“The City of Plano reviewed several potential locations and ultimately decided the best fit was to use vacant land next to the current water treatment plant. The solar field will help the city save money, reduce our dependence on traditional fossil fuels and provides a good example of how the City of Plano continues to be environmental stewards for today and the future.” said Robert Hausler, Mayor, City of Plano.

“We could not have afforded solar without the Adjustable Block Program established by the Future Energy Jobs Act which enabled us to build the field with no upfront cost. Mooseheart invested $11.4 million into school renovations back in 2013 so we wanted to do something out of the ordinary to impact our energy budget," said Gary Urwiler, Executive Director of Mooseheart Child City and School.

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