Largest Urban Solar Power Plant May Be Coming to Chicago

In early August 2009, the Chicago City Council approved a lease on a vacant lot where a solar power facility will be constructed. The lot will be leased to Chicago-based utility, Exelon, which plans to erect a 10-megawatt solar photovoltaic facility consisting of more than 30,000 solar panels that would generate enough electricity to power about 1,200 homes.

Earlier this summer, Exelon announced an agreement with the San Jose, Calif.-based manufacturer, SunPower, to manufacturer the technology for the site. The highly efficient panels reportedly generate about 50 percent more power than other conventional panels, which will help make the space-constrained location more productive.

The lot, located in the city’s West Pullman Industrial Redevelopment Area, is considered a “brownfield,” which is land containing low levels of toxic waste from industry that was previously located there.

The $60 million project is contingent on Exelon receiving a federal loan guarantee under the recently passed federal stimulus pack-age. Exelon is seeking a loan guarantee for up to 80 percent of the project cost from the U.S. Department of Energy Loan Guarantee Pro-gram Office. Construction on the project is expected to be completed by the end of 2009.

About the Author

Rick Laezman

Freelance Writer
Rick Laezman is a Los Angeles-based freelancer writer. He has a passion for renewable power. He may be reached at .

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