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HomeBusiness InnovationClean EnergyIllinois Operating Community Solar Farms Reach Record High of 75

Illinois Operating Community Solar Farms Reach Record High of 75

Key Highlights

  • The number of community solar farms within ComEd’s northern Illinois service area has reached 75.
  • ComEd and Summit Ridge Energy, a developer of community solar farms, recently announced the completion of the 2.5 MW Speedway Solar project located 10 miles south of Joliet, Illinois. 
  • The project features over 2,300 solar panels and will provide approximately 350 ComEd customers with access to solar energy and savings on their energy bills. 

According to Energy Department, As of January 2022, Illinois has installed 118 MW of community solar generating capacity. ComEd plans will double its community solar farms to more than 150 by the end of 2023, serving around 36,000 customers.

The growth of community solar is largely dependent on state-level enabling policies. Illinois passed legislation enabling community solar in 2016, which was later strengthened in 2021 to support more than 1.5 GW of capacity over the next decade. 

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Community Solar Projects

The Biden administration has set a goal of 5 million homes being powered by community solar projects by 2025, a 700% increase from 2021 capacity. Currently, community solar projects are located in 40 states, including Washington D.C., with 22 states having enacted legislation that enables or requires community solar, 17 of which have provisions for low-income participation.

Community solar enables customers who may not have the financial means or roof space to install their own solar energy generation system to still benefit from clean energy. Subscribers earn credits on their monthly utility bills for their portion of the energy produced by the solar project. 

The Department of Energy (DOE) examines the affordability of community solar through the net present value (NPV) of a residential subscription, which measures the difference between the credits received and payments made over time. The median project-level NPV is around $0.19 per watt as of December 2020, and about 76% of projects yield a positive NPV, resulting in positive net benefits for subscribers throughout the subscription.

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