River Forest adds solar option for residents

Environmentally conscious River Forest residents will soon have another green energy option following action taken by village council on September 13.

Directors voted 4-0 to support a recommendation from the Sustainability Commission to approve a resolution approving the Community Solar Clearinghouse Solution (CS2) residential solar program. Trustees Lisa Gillis and Bob O’Connell did not attend the meeting.

Sponsored by the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus and managed by the Power Bureau, the CS2 Residential Solar Program is a caucus-municipal partnership established in 2018 that provides the opportunity to earn solar energy credits for residents who may not be. owners of their house or not be able to otherwise install solar panels.

The CS2 program is the second green energy program offered in the village, joining the Green Electric Aggregation program which started in September 2020.

In a note to the village council, Sara Phyfer, management analyst / deputy clerk, explained that the CS2 program differs from the Green Electric program by directly connecting residents to a solar subscription offer, thus saving them energy costs. money on the supply side of their electricity bills. . They would continue to be supplied with electricity by Commonwealth Edson. Green Energy program participants receive their power from MC Squared to support the development of clean and renewable energy through the acquisition of certified renewable energy certificates.

By subscribing to a solar farm in Illinois through CS2, participating residents would receive a 20% discount on their annual Commonwealth Edison procurement fee for their share of the solar farm’s power generation, she added in the note. The savings for those already participating in the Green Energy program would be slightly lower.

All of the administrators present expressed their support for the CS2 program with administrator Respicio Vazquez calling it “a great idea” and village president Cathy Adduci saying she is “super excited” by the program.

“It’s perfect,” said trustee Katie Brennan. “This is where we should be.

Eric Simon, chairman of the Sustainability Commission, told administrators there is no registration fee for residents and that he hopes the program will begin in January.

Brennan and Trustees Ken Johnson and Erika Bachner stressed the importance of educating residents about the program.

Noting that River Forest is not the first municipal participant, Simon said the village will be able to model its educational material on that of municipalities already participating.

He also warned that the state’s energy policy overhaul recently passed by the Illinois legislature could impact the CS2 program and other green energy programs in the state. However, he said the impact will only be known when the policy is studied more carefully.

Participating western suburban municipalities include Lombard and Oak Park, which Brookfield is expected to join. The other participants are Bannockburn, Deerfield, Evanston, Glencoe, Glenview, Highland Park, Lake Bluff, Lake Forest, Mount Prospect and Northbrook.

Initially, the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus opened CS2 to municipalities in the Chicago area in 2019 after the completion of the Rainy Solar project in Elgin. Rainy Solar is a 1.18 megawatt rooftop solar panel

In September 2020, the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus and the Power Bureau launched a residential pilot CS2 program to a consortium of seven communities in the North Shore. Each community serves as a “sponsor” for Residential CS2 to connect homeowners and business owners to an “approved” solar subscription offering.

More than 1,300 residential customers on the North Shore have subscribed to receive metering credits that are applied to their electricity bills, which translates into modest cost savings. According to the North Shore Community Solar website, “A typical North Shore home can support the deployment of 30 solar panels on a community solar farm and secure up to $ 130 per year in net metering credit value.”

A “typical” residential customer does not use more than 1,000 kilowatts of electricity per month, according to the website.

Subscribers to the community solar program accumulate metering credits, which are based on the size of the subscription and the amount of energy produced by the solar project associated with the community.

The Metropolitan Mayors Caucus is an organization of members of the 275 towns, cities and towns of the Chicago area that was founded in 1997. The caucus provides a forum for the principal elected officials of the Chicago metropolis to collaborate on common issues and work towards a common goal of improving the quality of life for the millions of people who inhabit the region.

The Power Bureau is a consulting firm that, according to its website, “provides energy procurement and planning services” to small and medium-sized organizations, including municipalities.

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