Aldermen approved leasing 41 acres of city owned land in the West Pullman neighborhood yesterday for construction of one of the country's largest urban solar power plants.
The plant, operated by Exelon Solar Chicago, will produce 10 megawatts of electricity, enough to power 1200 to 1500 homes.
Before moving forward, the company needs to secure federal loan guarantees that would cover approximately 80 percent of the $60 million project.
“This is the next milestone in what we think is a really important project,” says Paul Elsberg, spokesman for Exelon Solar Chicago.
According to Brian Granahan with Environment Illinois, Chicago already produces 2.2 megawatts of solar energy.
“If this project moves forward we’re going to have a five times the amount of solar power,” says Granahan.
The only other plant of this magnitude is in Nevada, says Granahan, and produces 14.5 megawatts of energy.
The plant could open as early as next year. It would contain 32,800 solar photovoltaic panels. Granahan says the plant would cut carbon dioxide emissions by 14,000 metric tons a year.
The lease approved by City Council pays $110,000 in annual rent for 25 years.