The City of Highland Park recently received Bronze designation from SolSmart, a national program that recognizes cities that that foster solar energy usage and remove obstacles to solar development at the local level. Highland Park made changes to our permitting, inspection, planning and zoning processes that will help solar companies reduce the cost of installations and pass those savings on to consumers. To make it easier to navigate the process, the City has posted a solar permitting checklist on its website.
Metropolitan Mayor’s Caucus worked with Highland Park and 14 other Chicago-area municipalities and counties to achieve SolSmart Designation. There are now 18 SolSmart designated municipalities in Illinois, the highest number of any state in the country. Our participation in this program shows that we are open for solar business. SolSmart is an initiative led by The Solar Foundation and the International City/County Management Association and funded by the US Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office.
If you are interested in using solar energy to meet your electricity needs but aren’t able to install solar panels at your home, you can subscribe to community solar. A group of Wilmette residents is working to put together a community solar project that will be open to people in our area. To learn more, click here. There will be an informational meeting on Tuesday, February 20 from 7 – 8:30 pm at the Wilmette Public Library. The meeting is free and open to the public. Doors open at 6:30 pm.
In the spirit of the Fourth of July, I want to share this video about solar roads. This is an American story of innovation that could help power our world. Take a few minutes to watch. Enjoy the holiday weekend!
As a proud alum, I applaud Middlebury College for the recent announcement that it has achieved carbon neutrality. I hope their efforts will serve as an example for others to follow.
If you don’t yet have a smart thermostat, now is the time to upgrade. Not only will it help you save energy (and money) when the temperature drops, but you can get a nice rebate. Click here for details. Thanks to the Environmental Law and Policy Center, my former employer, for their work on this program.
If you received a letter recently from ComEd that indicated that your electricity contract is expiring, don’t worry — your electricity service will continue uninterrupted. The City of Highland Park recently entered into a new contract for the purchase of electricity for residents. During the transition, all homes in the program will go back to ComEd temporarily before switching to Integrys. This will happen automatically — you don’t need to do anything. There’s a more detailed explanation here.
On March 23, the City Council approved a new contract for residents who are currently in its municipal aggregation program. The two year agreement with Integrys provides cost savings over the ComEd rate, and also includes the purchase of renewable energy credits (RECs). One REC is produced for each megawatt hour of renewable electricity put on the grid, and will help finance renewable energy generation. The REC option will add approximately $1.60 per month to the electricity bill for an average Highland Park home.