ISEA Blog

Welcome to the ISEA Blog. Catch up on the latest issues related to the adoption of solar and small wind energy in Illinois. We welcome your feedback and referral of newsworthy developments. 

  • 15 Jul 2010 11:58 AM | Michelle Hickey
    Commonwealth Edison customers will see an increase of about $9 to monthly bills effective immediately.

    The Illinois Commerce Commission said electricity bills include charges for electricity and charges for delivering power. The end user cost increase is the result of changes in the wholesale price of electricity in the market. The ICC does not regulate or set the price of electricity; the ICC reviews and sets the price of the utility's delivery services.

    "This is the price of electricity, which is changed every spring," Beth Bosch of the ICC told The Times.

    Jeff Burdick, ComEd company spokesman, said ComEd does not procure the electricity, the Illinois Power Agency does on behalf of ComEd and the cost is passed on to the consumer without markup. (read full article)

    Take ISEA Solar & Wind 101 and Learn how you can stop Renting from ComEd and Own your Electricity with Solar.
  • 15 Jul 2010 11:49 AM | Michelle Hickey
    At a former industrial site on Chicago's South Side, more than 32,000 solar panels slowly tilt every few minutes, following the sun as it moves across the sky.

    Operated by Exelon Corp. (NYSE:EXC) , the 40 acres of panels in West Pullman is the nation's largest urban solar plant, generating 10 megawatts of clean power and hope for an Illinois industry that has long waited for its moment in the sun.

    "We have been frustrated over the years that solar has not become more mainstream," said Kevin Lynch, who trains electricians to install solar panels for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. "We understand it's still a relatively expensive technology, but the cost is much less than it was a few years ago."

    Indeed, the biggest obstacle to the growth of solar energy -- its cost -- has started to decline. The price of photovoltaic solar panels dropped more than 40 percent last year due to a glut in global supply, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association.(read full article)

    NOTE:  ISEA is planning a tour of the Exelon West Pullman solar plant.  Stay tuned to the events calendar for more information soon!
  • 15 Jul 2010 11:05 AM | Michelle Hickey

    Governor Pat Quinn today (July 14) signed legislation to encourage investment in Illinois’ renewable energy sector and further build the state’s green economy. The new laws extend property tax relief for wind farms and give local governments the authority to finance green projects in unincorporated areas of the state. (read full press release)

  • 07 Jul 2010 9:25 AM | Michelle Hickey

    WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Labor today awarded $125 million in grants to 41 community colleges and organizations. This round is the fifth and final of Community-Based Job Training Grant awards. Awardees were chosen from among 323 applications received in response to a competition first announced on March 15. Of the full amount, nearly $74 million is dedicated to applicants that have never received a Community-Based Job Training Grant.

    "The $125 million awarded today will create opportunities for working Americans to train for high-demand occupations with the help of our nationwide community college system," said U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. "Our goal is to help workers across the country prepare for and secure good jobs, and with support from these colleges and other critical stakeholders, we'll ensure we reach a broad base of individuals in need." (more)

    Lake Land College

    Mattoon

    Ill.

    Green-Building, Retrofitting and Solar

    $2,542,762


  • 01 Jul 2010 12:33 PM | Michelle Hickey
    Solar car races have existed for a number of years, with many such as the “American Solar Challenge” that runs a 1,100 mile course from Broken Arrow, Oklahoma to Naperville, Illinois having gone on for roughly 20 years now.

    These races have even become so well known in many media cultures to have become the focus of some movies, such as the 1996 comedy-drama “Race the Sun”.

    Beyond simply being an interesting pastime, however, these races have a very real benefit to many alternative energy industry personnel and have played an active role in helping to shape the modern solar power industry.

    Focusing on the most efficient and effective usage of energy possible from solar photovoltaic cells available today, solar car participants must use their engineering skills to develop a vehicle that is both light weight and energy efficient enough to allow them to achieve both speed and endurance into a small craft to make the substantial run between cities. (more)
  • 01 Jul 2010 12:26 PM | Michelle Hickey

    CARPENTERSVILLE – District 300 is one step closer to becoming one of the first Illinois school districts to use a wind farm to reduce energy costs.

    Gov. Pat Quinn recently signed into law the School District Intergovernmental Cooperation Renewable Energy Act, which authorizes school districts to acquire and build facilities that convert wind or solar power to energy.

    Last year, Carpentersville District 300 joined a School Wind Consortium with Keeneyville District 20 and Prospect Heights District 23.

    With the new law that went into effect Friday, the three districts are onto Phase II of their project. (more)

  • 01 Jul 2010 11:31 AM | Michelle Hickey

    Naperville man's roof system slashes use of gas and electricity

    June 30, 2010|By Gerry Smith, Tribune reporter

    A few years ago, Jim Camasto thought about investing $20,000 in the stock market.

    But instead, Camasto, 43, of Naperville, spent that money on a safer, "greener" investment — solar power.

    Camasto has installed a solar thermal and solar electricity system on his roof, which helps heat and power his home.

    His gas use has dropped more than 50 percent, and his electricity use has dropped about 70 percent. He sells extra power back to the electricity grid and sells renewable energy credits, which investors buy and trade to support renewable energy projects.

    His return on his investment is about 3 or 4 percent a year. (more)


  • 01 Jul 2010 11:27 AM | Michelle Hickey
    Chicago Tribune, Gerry Smith.
    .
    .."We have been frustrated over the years that solar has not become more mainstream," said Kevin Lynch, who trains electricians to install solar panels for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. "We understand it's still a relatively expensive technology, but the cost is much less than it was a few years ago."

    Indeed, the biggest obstacle to the growth of solar energy — its cost — has started to decline. The price of photovoltaic solar panels dropped more than 40 percent last year due to a glut in global supply, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association.

    The drop in price is driving renewed interest in solar energy, said Howard Learner, executive director of the Environmental Law and Policy Center. (more)


  • 24 Jun 2010 11:45 AM | Michelle Hickey
    P.G.&E. Corporation, the California utility holding company, has created a $100 million tax-equity fund to finance residential solar installations by SunRun, a San Francisco start-up that leases photovoltaic arrays to homeowners.


    The fund, managed by a P.G.&E. subsidiary, Pacific Energy Capital II, is the largest single solar leasing pool to date, according to the company, and marks the growing interest of utilities in the renewable energy financing business.

    “We’re in somewhat of a unique position in that roughly half of the nation’s rooftop solar installations are in our service territory,” Brian Steel, P.G.&E.’s senior director of corporate strategy, said in an interview. “We’re at the proverbial ground zero of these new technologies and so perhaps more than any utility holding company in the country we have a strategic imperative to get ahead of the curve through having a propriety seat at the table with a partner like SunRun.” (more)

  • 22 Jun 2010 12:04 PM | Michelle Hickey

    Sunseeker, Western Michigan University's solar car                  Special to the Gazette/John A Lacko

    On Saturday, solar-powered vehicles took off at noon from Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, en route to the Chicago suburb of Naperville. ASC is a competition where students design, build and drive solar-powered vehicles in a rally event. This year’s event marks the 20th anniversary of the ASC.


    In an effort to promote a greater understanding of solar energy technology, this hands-on competition provides the opportunity for students to “develop and demonstrate their technical and creative abilities” while learning about the benefits of solar power. (more)

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