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Electric Aggregation and Community Solar Options Explained

picture of wind energy towers next to a solar panel array
In addition to electric aggregation, Park Forest residents can sign-up for savings from a community solar program. (Image VOPF)

Park Forest, IL-(ENEWSPF)- As reported in eNews Park Forest previously, Park Forest residents have several options available to them when it comes to electric aggregation, how their electricity is generated, and the price they will pay.

The choices are a little confusing, so the information here hopefully provides some insight.

Village of Park Forest Electric Aggregation Program

The Village of Park Forest recently signed a two-year agreement with MC Squared Energy Services (mc2) to provide residents and small businesses with power beginning April, 2023. MC Squared provides ComEd with electricity from renewable energy sources. ComEd then provides this power to residents through its power grid using its employees and resources. Residents deal only with ComEd for all service and billing issues, just as they do today. Residents will see a reference to “MC Squared Energy Services” on the supply section of their ComEd bill.

logo of a green square with the characters , electric aggregation
The electricity aggregation program utilizes power from mc2 solar arrays. (Image VOPF)

The rate charged for the mc2 electric supply will be 7.99 cents per kilowatt hour versus the current ComEd rate of 9.66 cents. This rate is locked for the two years of the agreement. In addition to the electric supply costs, ComEd bills their normal delivery charges, taxes, and fees. Participants in the program can opt out at any time and return to the ComEd electric supply at their normal rate.

You need take no action to participate in the electric aggregation program. Residents who participate in special pricing programs from ComEd (such as Hourly Pricing or Time of Day pricing) remain in those programs, but will also be part of the aggregation.

The state aggregation program, enacted in 2011, allows municipalities the ability to seek bids and sign an agreement with alternate energy providers (those other than ComEd) for their residents and small businesses.

Electric Aggregation Agreement

The village has been in a three-year aggregation agreement with mc2 that began in 2020 which utilize Renewable Energy Credits. That agreement, while utilizing green energy sources, reflected the existing ComEd rates, rather than a reduced rate such as under the new agreement. As a result of that agreement, Park Forest is an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) “Green Power Partner,” which recognizes communities that meet or exceed the EPA’s green power purchase requirements.

Residents can opt out of the program if they wish. If they do so, their bill will reflect the normal ComEd electricity supply costs. There is no guarantee that the power supplied by ComEd will be from green sources as ComEd can utilize any of the 75 electricity providers authorized by the Illinois Commerce Commission.

More information on the aggregation program is in the material at the end of this article or on the village website.

Community Solar: Illinois Solar for All and Illinois Shines

Residents who wish to be a bit more proactive in their support of green energy can take advantage of a community solar option.

This program partners with Buy Commercial Energy and Solstice Community Solar which operate solar arrays within ComEd’s territory and provide that power to ComEd on behalf of all program participants.

One difference between this program and the aggregation program explained above is in the manner of billing. Community solar plan participants will receive two bills each month: one from Solstice, and one from ComEd. The Solstice bill will reflect the cost of the electric supply, while the ComEd bill will reflect the charges for the delivery of that power to the home. In the event that severe weather reduces the solar power typically generated, it is possible that participants may also see a supply charge from ComEd to make up the difference.

Income-qualified residents will realize a 50% reduction over normal ComEd rates in the electric supply costs (billed by Solstice). These cost savings are possible through the Illinois Solar for All program. Households that exceed the income threshold will receive a 20% reduction over ComEd supply rates (billed by Solstice) through the Illinois Shines program.

$100 Sign-on Bonus

In addition to the cost savings, all plan participants will receive a $100 sign-on bonus and the village will receive $100 for each Illinois Solar for All participants to use in future sustainability efforts.

More information regarding the income threshold amounts is on the Illinois Solar for All website. Additional information on community solar and the village program is on the Park Forest page of the Solstice website.

Information on the community solar program will be in the February, March, and April water bills. The Village is also sending information about the program to each resident in the mail. Residents interested in learning more about the community solar option may attend one of two in-person sessions sponsored by the village and Solstice.

  • Wednesday, March 8, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Wetlands Discovery Center, 30 N. Orchard Drive, Park Forest (adjacent to the Park Forest Aqua Center).

Note: This session was originally scheduled to be held at the Park Forest Public Library but was moved due to library construction activity.

  • Saturday, April 8, 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Park Forest Village Hall, 350 Victory Drive, Park Forest.

In Summary

Whether a resident opts to be part of the electric aggregation program or the community solar program, they can feel confident that are supporting green energy alternatives and will likely save money on their monthly electric bills over what they are paying today.