Four community solar projects will be constructed outside of Murrayville and Meredosia this year, providing energy credits to people who subscribe to the program. First reported by the Jacksonville Journal-Courier, solar energy company Pivot Energy announced this week that it was awarded 11 community solar projects in an Illinois Power Agency program lottery.
Garrett Peterson, Pivot’s vice president of project development, said the company will expecting to break ground on the projects this year, likely in late summer or early fall. They could also apparently be operational by the end of the year. With four total sites, there are two located outside of Meredosia, just east of the river, and two to be placed north of Murrayville.
Regional Planning Commission Director Dusty Douglas has worked with Pivot to permit the projects, which require a special-use permit. The company leases the land for the sites. Peterson said the footprint for each site is about 15 acres.
The Illinois Power Agency selects community solar projects for the Adjustable Block Program through a lottery. Because of the lottery process, Pivot didn’t know which of its proposed sites would be picked. Peterson said the company looked across the state for sites on flat ground, located next to Ameren lines, and avoided wetlands and wooded areas.
Pivot Energy, which has been in Illinois since 2012, has done close to 90 commercial and residential solar projects in the state but no community solar projects in Illinois so far.
The local projects are currently in the initial design and permitting phases. Construction will reportedly take three to four months. Peterson said the company plans to hire local labor to work on the projects. Once operational at the end of 2019 or in early 2020, Peterson said the panels will last for decades.
Power produced on the site is metered. Subscribers get energy bill credits. Each site generates enough power to offset energy use of about 400 homes, depending on home size.