<b>Erin Hegarty | Chicago Tribune</b>
Installation of more than 3,500 solar panels that could generate more than 1.6 million kilowatt hours of electricity annually is expected to begin this summer at Naperville’s Springbrook Water Reclamation Center.
When completed, the six acres of high-efficiency solar panels will produce enough energy to power 145 homes a year, according to Staci Wilson, director of government affairs for the Illinois Municipal Electric Agency.
Naperville’s solar project will come at no direct cost to the city as the Illinois Municipal Electric Agency, of which Naperville is a part and where the city gets its power, is commissioning the facility, Wilson said. A developer will build and fund the project.
Naperville Mayor Steve Chirico said he is excited about the project.
“A lot of the criticism (about) Naperville’s power sourcing is the primary source is coal, and that’s not environmentally friendly,” Chirico said. “One of the things Naperville is trying to do is use our influence with that organization to encourage the development of renewable energy.”
Solar panels will be installed on six acres of open land on the east side of the Springbrook property, which is near Plainfield-Naperville Road. The facility will have a 1 megawatt peak capability, according to Wilson.
Power inverters will convert the panels’ direct current output to alternating current that can by synced to the utility grid, she said.
And Naperville residents won’t have to wait long before the solar panels are installed and in use.
“The goal is to start construction this summer with planned commercial in-service before the end of the year,” Wilson said.