The need for a global transition from oil, gas, and coal energy resources towards renewable solutions grows exponentially year after year. “We celebrate what coal built for us, what the power it brought in the thirties and forties and fifties meant to these communities. But people recognize that its time has come and gone and are embracing renewable energy”- Managing Partner Jon Carson from Trajectory Energy Partners.
Within Illinois, environmentally-focused organizations and activists are working together to do their part in assisting this transition to happen as quickly as possible. One such company is Trajectory Energy Partners; they bring together landowners and electricity users to develop solar energy projects that benefit local communities and economies. They have started projects in Illinois, Maryland, and Pennsylvania, but today we will focus on the work being done within our state of Illinois.
Due to arguably the most important climate bill in Illinois’s history, The Future Energy Jobs Act, passed in December 2016, Trajectory Energy Partners have made significant progress towards supplying solar energy to anyone who wants it. This legislative act is one of the nation’s most comprehensive state climate bills, focusing on clean jobs and incentives that provide Illinois residents a sustainable green future. The Future Energy Jobs Act opens the doors for community solar initiatives, large-scale utility builds, and home installation solar projects.
Solar for Everyone
As explained in the video, the Horseman Quarry site in historic Rockford, Illinois was underutilized for many years. Now, as a large solar site, the quarry will help the community, local government, and homeowners in Rockford reduce their utility costs, breathe easier and benefit from clean energy. This solar site should be completed by the end of 2021. The Horseman Quarry was wisely chosen during the first round of selections by the Illinois Solar For All program, committed to bringing solar power to all people who need it regardless of income.
Not every climate-conscious individual or business can afford or have the ability to install solar panels on their home or building, but with community solar programs, they can be a part of an effort to support renewable energy. Local residents interested and eligible will be able to subscribe to this solar project through the Give-A-Ray Program. The Give-A-Ray program allows low-income residents to participate in community solar without paying subscription fees.
“Nobody gets excited about their new high efficiency, hot water heater, but people get excited about having solar on their roof. Lots of people can’t put solar on their roof.”- Jon Carson. People who never thought they would have the opportunity to utilize renewable energy are benefiting from these projects. Community solar can even provide apartment renters the ability to participate. A big draw towards becoming a consumer of community solar energy is utility cost reduction. The Kankakee solar project is helping businesses and residents save money while also helping the state of Illinois reach its renewable energy goals. With the Future Energy Jobs Act, Illinois pledged to reach 25% clean energy by 2030. Initiatives statewide are working hard to make this goal a reality. If you live near Kankakee, consider subscribing through Clearway Energy to reap community solar’s environmental and economic benefits and put the great state of Illinois at the head of the environmentally friendly pack!
Renewable Energy in Rural Illinois
Rural communities nationwide stand to reap the most benefits from renewable energy innovations through green jobs, money-saving initiatives, and increased population. These often-overlooked communities already have the experienced energy workforce and the wide-open land available. Illinois’ position within the nation, land quality and governmental commitment to progress make it a prime candidate to lead by example. We are proud to be part of a state that recognizes the ever-growing need for environmental action. When it comes to renewable energy, the solar energy projects underway are an example of the best and greenest path to a brighter future for Illinois and all Americans.