Thanks to the Future Energy Jobs Act, Illinois hopes to see an explosion of community solar projects within the next year. Community solar allows renters and condo dwellers, people whose roofs cannot support solar, and people who simply can’t afford the up-front investment to participate in the benefits and savings of renewable energy by subscribing to a project that is not necessarily on their property.
Solar developers, potential community solar subscribers (especially residents, small businesses, and nonprofits), and communities that want to host community solar will need to find each other to create economically successful projects. To help make this happen, The Accelerate Group, a Midwest-based strategic consulting firm, is building a website (solarinthecommunity.com) that will help make the community solar market more transparent and accessible to all parties.
Deborah Stone, director of the Cook County Department of Environment and Sustainability, gives a brief overview of the schedule of the regulatory process in Illinois to support community solar.
Andrew Barbeau, president of The Accelerate Group, reviews how to use the website, explaining how solar developers upload planned community solar projects; how potential subscribers browse, filter, and sign up for updates on projects; and how communities and local governments publicize their interest in hosting community solar.