Kendall County Board OKs solar panels near jail in Yorkville

By: Tony Scott –

Kendall County government is going solar.

The County Board unanimously approved a number of measures at its meeting Tuesday, March 6, that will locate a series of solar panels – called a solar field – on a 7.4-acre parcel just west of the Public Safety Center in Yorkville.

Board members approved the installation of the solar field by Chicago-based GRNE Solar, along with a 25-year power purchase agreement and companion land lease agreement with GRNE to construct the two-megawatt solar field and sell the power to the county for a rate not to exceed .0285 cents per kilowatt hour in the first year with a 0.9 percent increase per year after that.

County Administrator Scott Koeppel said the power generated from the solar field will be used to power the Public Safety Center, courthouse and Health and Human Services building.

“Then we can buy the power from GRNE at a lower rate than we would buy from ComEd, and that’s where the savings comes for the county,” Koeppel said. “And obviously green energy is a good thing.”

Chris Childress of Progressive Energy Group told board members the county could see savings of at least $162,000 in energy costs annually through the life of the agreement, totaling about $4 million.

Board member John Purcell asked Childress what happens at the end of the 25-year period.

Childress said the county could buy the solar field, extend the lease with GRNE or have the field removed at GRNE’s expense.

Childress said the next step is to go through the building permit process with the city of Yorkville. GRNE will apply for a grant from the Illinois Power Authority, he said.

Childress said the county could expect the solar field to be installed and “energized” by the end of this year or early 2019, provided that GRNE receives the grant from the IPA.