Illinois Power Agency Funds Solar for Galesburg Water Treatment Plant

April 11, 2019 03:14 PM
The Illinois Power Agency recently announced that they have allocated the adjustable block program discretionary capacity to ensure all distributed generation solar energy projects submitted prior to the February 2019 deadline will be accepted into the Long-term Renewable Resource Procurement plan. As a result of this announcement, the City of Galesburg, along with its solar development partner Community Power Group, plan to build a 1.375 Mega Watt solar farm that will provide close to 100% of the energy needs for the Galesburg water treatment facility. The solar farm will be located on leased ground, adjacent to the Water Treatment Plant in Oquawka.  The Community Power Group will pay for the construction and operation of the solar facility and sell the City power at a discounted rate. Under the Long-term Renewable Resource Procurement plan, the Community Power Group will receive renewable energy credits for the power produced from the site, which will offset a large portion of their construction and operation costs for the project. There will be no upfront costs paid by the City. This project is expected to save the City approximately $1.7 million over the life of the contract (25 years) and $3.8 if the city elects to renew the contract. The solar farm at the water treatment facility is expected to be constructed this summer and operational in the fall of 2019.  
In addition to the distributed generation solar energy project, the City is has agreed to host up to four potential community solar gardens that Community Power Group submitted into the state’s solar adjustable block program. These projects, if selected, would provide the opportunity for businesses and residents of Galesburg and the surrounding area a chance to subscribe to the community solar garden and receive renewable energy from the solar garden at a discount compared to their existing electric rates. Three of the proposed community solar gardens would be located at the Logistics Park, and one at the Airport. On Wednesday, April 10th, the Illinois Power Agency (IPA) held the lottery for the Community Solar Projects and selected 34 sites to be funded, unfortunately none of the City sites were selected for funding in 2019. However, all the unfunded Community Solar Projects were placed into a ranked queue and based on these results, the City could possibly see the Community Solar Garden at the Airport developed in 2020 or 2021.  Additional changes could be made to the program by the State in the future, which would provide additional funding to allow more solar sites to be selected. However, based on the current funding levels, the other City sites would not be able to be funded for another 8 to 10 years.
The full results from the IPA lottery can be found at The map below illustrates all of the proposed projects from the IPA solar lottery in the Galesburg area. All distributed generation projects are funded, and shown in blue. All community solar projects are shown in red, and the number shown by them is the ordinal where the projects are at the queue. The map illustrates not only the City projects, but all projects submitted from the Galesburg area. For more information on the City of Galesburg solar projects, contact the City of Galesburg Planning and Public Works Department at 309/345-3623. 


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