A utility-scale demonstration solar plant is up and running at 850 Equity Drive in the Legacy Business Center (adjacent to the East Side Sports Complex). The 500kW solar plant with a ground-mounted solar panel array covers about three acres and started commercial operation Sept. 1, 2017, producing its first kilowatts of electricity.
The solar plant is a demonstration project of the Illinois Municipal Electric Agency (IMEA). IMEA supplies wholesale power to the City of St. Charles and selected St. Charles as a host site for the solar project over other competing municipalities.
“We are happy to partner with St. Charles on this demonstration project to further our collective experience with renewable resources,” said Kevin Gaden, CEO of the Illinois Municipal Electric Agency.
As a demonstration site, it will supplement electric capacity by approximately 650,000 kWh per year, about enough power to supply 70 St. Charles residential customers. The St. Charles Electric Utility and IMEA are studying how the solar plant contributes to the City’s distribution system. IMEA has launched a web page that tracks current and historical production of the solar plant www.imea.org/StCharlesSolar.aspx.
“The solar plant project came online on schedule,” said St. Charles Electric Services Manager Tom Bruhl. “We closed the breaker and energy started flowing from the plant to the St. Charles grid smoothly and with no surprises or issues. We are so excited to be chosen for this project.”
The solar plant project was constructed by Altorfer Caterpillar, with general contractor ITG Construction Services. The grounds around the solar panels are planted with a no-mow fescue that requires little maintenance and will help with stormwater management.
Work also is progressing on a new electrical substation that is adjacent to the solar plant at the Legacy Business Center location. The new substation is expected to be complete by summer 2018 and will serve the southeast area of the city. A public open house for the solar plant is planned after work on the nearby substation is complete.
For more information, contact Tom Bruhl, St. Charles Electric Services Manager, at 630.377.4401 or email@example.com; or Staci Wilson, IMEA Director of Government Affairs at 217.789.4632 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
IMEA is a not-for-profit unit of local government created in 1984 that is currently comprised of 32 municipal electric systems from all across Illinois. Each of those communities owns and operates its own electric distribution system. IMEA’s focus is on the reliable delivery of bulk power and energy to its Members at low and stable prices. IMEA combines the power needs of all of its Members and secures the electricity necessary to satisfy those needs. Visit www.imea.org.