Construction has recently commenced on six Illinois community solar projects. The construction, overseen by Clearway Energy Group, is for a series of projects totaling 18-megawatts of solar capacity. Once completed, they will add to the growing solar industry in Illinois. All six projects are now part of Clearway’s 54-megawatt portfolio, which spans 18 different projects.
Cypress Creek Renewables originally developed the portfolio, but a master purchase agreement in 2019 transferred further management and operations to Clearway. Cypress Creek, which recently sold a community solar project in Massachusetts to Carval Investors, acted as the early-stage developer for the portfolio, but with the sale, Clearway will handle all development and construction until the sites are operational.
According to Brian Matthay, Cypress Creek’s CIO, the agreement was a milestone occasion for Cypress Creek. The company has been striving to be a leading source of Illinois community solar, and the sizable 18-project portfolio helps increase its ability to offer affordable solar options. Matthay stated that Cypress Creek focuses on making solar accessible and affordable to all regions, which was a quality shared by Clearway.
The Illinois Shines Community Solar Program, which came about as part of the Future Energy Jobs Act, is supporting the projects. According to Clearway, the total portfolio included in the master purchase agreement will generate more than 70 construction jobs as well as permanent positions once the installations are operational.
All six Illinois community solar projects are expected to be completed in 2021. Once they are, the 18-megawatts will be enough to help more than 2,100 homes and small businesses part of the ComEd and Ameren territories of DeKalb, Macoupin, McLean, and Will counties.
When participants subscribe to the solar portfolio, they become eligible to receive credits on their monthly utility bill. Though the projects aren’t completed or operational yet, Clearway noted that Northwester University was poised to become the first subscriber to the portfolio.
Residents and small businesses can find more information on subscribing and become a participant at clearwaycommunitysolar.com.