Community, Environmental, Green Tech, Local, Park Forest

Community Solar Will Help Park Forest Residents Cut Electricity Bills

Park Forest, IL-(ENEWSPF)- Residents of Park Forest will soon have the opportunity to realize significant savings on their electric bills under a new program utilizing a community solar project.

The village is partnering with Buy Commercial Energy and Solstice Community Solar, which operates solar arrays and provides electricity to companies such as ComEd. Participating residents will continue to receive their power and service from ComEd, but ComEd will adjust monthly bills based on how much energy is being generated by Solstice.

Not only is this partnership good for the environment, but residents who sign up for the program will also realize significant financial benefits. Income-qualified residents receive a 50% reduction in the supply costs charged by ComEd. As a bonus, residents receive a $100 gift card and the village also receives $100 to use toward sustainability projects. There is no cost to join the program.

The income threshold to receive the 50% savings depends on total household income and the number of people in the household.

picture of wind energy towers next to a solar panel array
Park Forest residents can enjoy the benefits and cost savings of solar power through a new agreement with Solstice Community Solar (Image VOPF)

According to the guidelines posted on the Illinois Solar for All website, to qualify for the reduction, the income threshold of a Park Forest household of two people is $66,700. This means if the total household income is less than this amount, the residence qualifies for a 50% reduction in their electric supply costs. Similarly, a household of four people would have an income threshold of $83,350.

Carrie Malfeo, Park Forest Sustainability Coordinator, noted that residents who exceed the threshold amount can still participate in the program, but their electric supply savings will be reduced to 20% (rather than 50%), and their $100 gift card would be sent once the solar farm is activated.

outline of the state of Illinois superimposed over a drawing of the sun
Income-qualified residents can save 50% of their electric generation costs through the Illinois Solar for All Program (Image Illinois Solar for All)

The 50% savings is made possible through the Illinois Solar for All Program, designed to increase participation in solar energy projects among income-eligible residents. The 20% savings for those who do not qualify for Illinois Solar for All is derived from the Illinois Shines Program.

The village is hosting three in-person events to allow residents to learn more about the program and enroll if they are interested. The sessions are scheduled on:

Thursday, February 16, 7 to 8 p.m. at the Park Forest Village Hall

Wednesday, March 8, 6 to 7 p.m. at the Park Forest Public Library

Saturday, April 8, 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Park Forest Village Hall

The number of available spots in the program is limited so residents are encouraged to sign-up as soon as possible.

Example of hypothetical savings

Residents participating in the program continue to receive a monthly bill from ComEd which includes the community solar credit, as well as a separate bill directly from Solstice. The combined bill will reflect the savings (either 20% or 50%) associated with the program.

drawing of the sun next to Solstice name
Solstice will provide solar power to the ComEd grid and result in savings for participating Park Forest residents. (Image: Solstice)

As an example of the potential savings achievable through the program, assume a typical ComEd customer pays $100 per month. Hypothetically, of that amount, $50 is for the electricity generation, and $50 is for the delivery of that electricity to the home.

Since the electricity would now be generated by Solstice, the cost would be 50% off the ComEd rate, or $25, which would be billed by Solstice.

The final monthly cost would be $50 to ComEd, and $25 to Solstice, yielding a net savings of $25.

In addition to the three in-person events being hosted by the village, residents will receive information about the program in their water bills for the next three months. A copy of that flyer is shown below.

Residents will also receive a direct mail piece explaining the program in detail.

Residents can visit to learn more about the program or to sign-up. The site quotes Park Forest Village Manager Tom Mick expressing his strong support for the program:

“Sometimes it can be hard for residents to understand and recognize a good deal with all of the advertisements and solicitations in today’s energy market. To assist Park Foresters, Village of Park Forest Officials have researched and vetted Illinois Solar for All as a viable program to be considered for homes that qualify. The sign-on bonus is legitimate. Likewise, there will be substantial monthly savings. And, perhaps most importantly, Illinois Solar for All is good for the environment.”

Park Forest has been a leader in sustainability efforts for many years, including in the area of green energy solutions. In 2020, the village signed a three-year contract with MC2 to provide the village with wind power through the purchase of Renewable Energy Credits (REC). ComEd customers in the village currently receive their electricity from wind energy credits at the same rate that ComEd charges for their non-green energy producers.

The village recently signed a new two-year agreement with MC2 which will continue to supply the village and its residents with green energy, but with a fixed price of 7.99 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh) which is less than the current ComEd rate. Additional details on the new agreement will be available soon and shared in eNews Park Forest.