The Environmental Defense Fund and the Citizens Utility Board in Illinois have made an innovative proposal to the Illinois Commerce Commission for a neighborhood solar cooperative plan that would work like this:

Suppose you have a church or a school that has a lot of roof space available for solar panels but no money. And suppose people living nearby have the money to invest in solar power but no suitable rooftops. The proposed plan would allow neighborhoods to build a community solar system and share in any rebates or other incentives available.

The plan would be a form of crowdfunding solar power. “You could conceivably have dozens of neighbors share in kilowatt-hour savings worth hundreds, even thousands of dollars,” said Jim Chilsen, communications director at the Citizens Utility Board.

If approved by the ICC, the groups hope ComEd, the local utility company, will initiate a 3 year trial period for the plan beginning in 2016. If the plan is deemed successful, they would like to see it offered to all northern Illinois electric customers by 2020.

This idea is an example of how smart thinking is helping bring clean, renewable solar power to more people in more neighborhoods as soon as possible.

Source: Chicago Tribune