Seven community solar projects to deliver bill savings to low-income residents


A recently completed portfolio of seven community solar projects in Illinois and New York is expected to help approximately 5,000 low- to moderate-income (LMI) households. Additional subscribers will be public schools, a municipality, non-LMI households, and various private organizations, including two affordable housing providers, a community recreation center, religious institutions, and a housing association.

The seven projects boast a combined capacity of 14.4 MWac, estimated to avert 667,788 metric tons of CO2 emissions or the equivalent to eliminating 748 million pounds of coal burned over the lifespan of the projects.

The six Illinois community solar projects are located in Chicago Heights, Ford Heights, Monee, Granite City, and Rockford, and will serve qualifying customers of ComEd and Ameren. The New York solar project is located in Oswego County and will serve qualifying customers of National Grid.

Reactivate, a renewable energy company, in collaboration with Walmart and U.S. Bancorp Impact Finance closed a tax equity transaction on the portfolio.

According to Reactivate, 90% of the cost savings delivered by the projects will go to LMI households who will see a minimum 20% reduction on their retail electricity costs, up to the amount of their subscription to project output. Total customer savings from the projects in this investment are projected to exceed $17 million over the lifespan of the projects.

“Projects like Reactivate’s are shining examples of how renewable energy developers can distribute the direct benefits of grid-decarbonization to historically underserved communities,” said Clark Conlisk, vice president, assistant director of project management & impact capital at U.S. Bancorp Impact Finance. “For the LMI households subscribed to the project, the money that no longer must be spent to keep on the lights and A/C is a benefit to real people and empowers them to spend or save as they choose.”

Reactivate, founded by Invenergy and Lafayette Square, specializes in developing, owning and operating renewable energy projects that improve the lives LMI households and energy transition communities across the country. The company focuses on community solar, commercial and industrial, small utility-scale, energy storage, and EV charging projects.

Walmart set a goal to bring at least 2 GW of community solar projects in service by the end of 2030, and the retailer reports that this investment is an example of its energy transformation strategy of focusing on projects that make access to clean energy affordable, reliable, and equitable.

“Serving our customers and communities is core to our purpose at Walmart and our support of this high-impact portfolio demonstrates our continued commitment to that purpose,” said Frank Palladino, vice president, renewable energy strategy at Walmart. “These projects will assist in building a stronger and cleaner grid, expand access to clean energy for underserved communities and help people save money on their utility bills.”

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