Illinois water utility energizes 2.3-MW solar project with native grass bonus

Sol Systems and Illinois American Water, the largest investor-owned water company in Illinois, have cut the ribbon on Illinois American Water’s first solar project in Champaign County, Illinois. The 2.3 MW project includes two-sided panels, single-axis trackers and the installation of native grasses to promote the growth of local habitats.

Sol Systems partnered with construction company Inovateus Solar to build the project. During construction, the surrounding land was planted with native grass blends, including Little Bluestem, Side Oats Grama and Blue Grama, which will help the local ecosystem by expanding the footprint of this local flora.

“This is a very exciting project because of its multifaceted impact on the communities we serve in Champaign County,” said Brent O’Neill, technical director of Illinois American Water. “Not only did the project support local jobs, but the resulting solar energy helps reduce operating costs, benefiting our customers and reducing our carbon footprint.”

Illinois American Water will purchase the electricity under a 15-year PPA with Sol Customer Solutions, taking advantage of cheaper solar energy without the project’s initial installation costs. Sol Customer Solutions is a joint venture between Sol Systems and Arevon Energy. Arevon will manage the asset and Sol Systems will manage and maintain the project.

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