Nearly 40 acres of landfills have been repurposed to create solar farms that will provide renewable energy to low- and moderate-income residents in Illinois.
In partnership with the Illinois Solar for All program, Nexamp’s Solar Star Urbana Landfill community solar farm is ready to begin providing savings to low- and moderate-income (LMI) residents in the coming months. The solar farms, divided into two co-located arrays, take up around 40 acres atop a capped landfill and have over 14,000 solar panels, which together create 5.2 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy.
As a result of the Solar Star Urbana Landfill project, renewable energy will be sent to the grid, and subscribers will earn credits on their Ameren bills for their portion of the energy generated. Besides individuals living in the LMI areas, the City of Urbana has also registered in the initiative and will profit from the savings while also contributing to a broader effort to expand renewable energy across the region. Qualified residents in central and southern Illinois may participate in the program and earn a 50 percent reduction on their power supply cost when compared to Ameren’s standard rate.
In a statement, Jackie Chambers, director of corporate development for Nexamp, stated, “Our cooperation with SunPower is another significant step forward in Nexamp’s quest to make sustainable energy accessible to everyone.”
“We are devoted to ensuring that our local solar projects help the areas in which we operate and that these advantages extend directly to the LMI community as well. That we were able to achieve that requirement via the effective conversion of a waste site into a profitable asset for the City of Urbana is particularly satisfying,” she added.
To get the planned project authorized under the Solar for All program as well as to obtain a long-term lease on the capped landfill, SunPower worked in close collaboration with both the city and the Illinois Power Authority.
“There is a slew of reasons why this has been a terrific step for Urbana,” said Scott Tess, the city’s manager of environmental sustainability. “The lease provides us with a new cash source, as well as the opportunity to accomplish something constructive with a former dump. We have also secured a project subscription that will save us money on power for the municipal building. As clean energy is the key to building a prosperous future for Urbana and the whole country, we are delighted to be able to contribute.”