Community Solar Field Planned on District 60 Land

Community Solar Field Planned on District 60 Land
Posted on 03/03/2020
Land owned by Waukegan Community Unit School District # 60 may soon be home to one of the largest community solar fields in Illinois, as part of a project that could potentially save residents money on their electric bills, while generating lease revenue for District 60. 

Solar developer BQ Energy is preparing to construct a 7-megawatt solar energy farm on the currently-vacant Yeoman Creek site, where District 60 owns more than 45 acres. Yeoman Creek is a former landfill on the city’s north side, which is designated as a brownfield. District 60 purchased land more than 60 years ago with the intention of building upon it, but was never able to do so due to environmental regulations. 

“We’re very excited about this project, because we’re transforming the site from a brownfield, to a solar field. It's a win for the environment, the school district, and the Waukegan community,” said Kevin Kruckeberg, District 60 Construction Manager.  

District 60 began exploring the possibility of a solar collection field on the Yeoman site in 2012, at the recommendation of the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency. Work on a community solar project began in summer 2017. 

Several hurdles have already been cleared, including BQ approval by the Illinois Commerce Commission. BQ Energy has been approved for a Community Solar Project by Illinois EPA, and the Illinois Power Agency. Additionally, the City of Waukegan approved a conditional use permit for the site. 

Construction is expected to begin this year, and when completed, it would be among the largest community solar collection farms in Illinois. As part of an agreement, BQ Energy will pay the District to lease the land on which the solar panels will sit. 

Waukegan residents will also have an opportunity to benefit from the project. As a Community Solar Project, low-income residents will have a chance to apply to save 50 percent on their electric bills. The project estimates to save residents a total of $250,000 in the first year alone.

Additional information on energy savings will be made available by developers in the coming weeks and months.
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