The 26 community solar installations planned by Summit Ridge Energy are part of the Illinois Shines program, which is legislation passed in 2016 that supports the development of distributed generation as well as community solar projects.
The solar projects in the new portfolio will average about 3 MW and will use bifacial solar modules mounted on single-axis solar trackers. The majority of these projects will be designed with pollinator-friendly habitats.
Summit Ridge reports that Castillo Engineering will provide design and engineering services on the portfolio, with many of the projects beginning construction in Q1 2024. All 26 are expected to be completed by Q4 2024, at which point Costello and Summit Ridge Energy together will have completed over 120 projects totaling over 375 MW combined. By the end of the year, the two will collectively have a community solar portfolio of over 500 MW in Illinois.
“We chose to work with Castillo Engineering on this portfolio of projects due to their extensive community solar experience within Illinois, their Project Management Office, as well as their highly customized solutions,” said Pradeep Mohanraj, vice president of engineering at Summit Ridge Energy.
Illinois has a strong and growing solar market mainly as a result of the state’s renewable portfolio standard that requires that 25% of its energy comes from renewable sources by 2025. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), the state had 2.35 GW of solar installed as of 2023 and that is expected to grow by more than 1,700% over the next five years.
Illinois is now ranked as the fourth largest U.S. state in terms of community solar operating capacity, according to the Institute on Local Self Reliance, with approximately 220 MW installed. Collectively, Summit Ridge Energy and Castillo Engineering will have a community solar portfolio of over 500 MW in Illinois by the end of 2024.
Overall, community solar capacity in the U.S. is expected to increase from about 6 GW in 2023 to 14 GW by 2028, according to Wood Mackenzie
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