Clearway Energy Group recently obtained a high-profile participant for its local community solar project in Illinois. OSF HealthCare, a healthcare system owned by The Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis, joined the 4.6-megawatt facility to reduce its utility costs and take part in the statewide effort to drastically reduce carbon emissions. Based on the energy used by the healthcare system, switching to community solar will eliminate carbon emissions equaled to more than 1,000 vehicles.
OSF’s manager of energy and sustainability, Michael Keefe, commented on the benefits provided by subscribing to the local community solar project. Along with the electricity savings and carbon reduction, Keefe stated that it will also benefit the communities where OSF facilities are located, many of which are rural and low-income.
Though there is no required commitment to a community solar project, OSF HealthCare has entered into a long-term agreement with Clearway. Having the healthcare system as part of its solar program will provide Clearway with the support needed to complete additional projects being built in the Ameren territory. Clearway also has several ComEd projects that will benefit from OSF’s involvement in the community solar project.
Clearway’s portfolio of in-development projects is due in part to the Illinois Shines Community Solar Program. The program, which encourages community solar facilities throughout Illinois, was created as part of the Future Energy Jobs Act. Clearway’s portfolio alone will bring 70 jobs to Illinois during the construction phase. Additional permanent positions will be available as the installations become operational.
Currently, Clearway is the nation’s largest provider of community solar. Its line of programs and solar sites comprises a $160 million investment. Though Clearway isn’t the only provider in Illinois, its efforts will help the state get to its goal of having 25% of electric sales coming from the renewable energy market by 2025.