Rockford Solar -- a JV between Wanxiang and New Generation Power -- receives U.S. DOE, FAA approval to build 20-MW solar array at Chicago-Rockford International Airport; project includes 20-year PPA with Ameren Illinois to purchase energy
December 7, 2011
– Rockford Solar Partners, LLC, a renewable energy development joint venture between Elgin-based Wanxiang America and Chicago-based New Generation Power, receives DOE and FAA environmental approval to proceed on America's largest commercial airport solar farm.
Why the Chicago-Rockford International Airport for such as large 20 MW solar array? The airport has over 70 prime acres to install the solar panels, and Rockford is well known for its other green practices and incentives.
The Federal Aviation Administration and the Department of Energy just issued the FONSI "Finding of No Significant Impact" for the 20 MW Solar Farm at the Rockford Airport.
The Environmental Assessment was prepared by Jennifer Anderson of Rockford based Anderson Environmental and Engineering Co. with civil engineering done by Kevin Lewis of IG Consulting.
Wanxiang America will supply the photovoltaic solar panels from their newly operating, privately funded Rockford-based solar panel assembly plant which has a solar module production capacity of 30MW per year and has expansion plans for an additional 60MW of production per year. Panel production is well underway and Wanxiang will ramp up jobs and production as the project expands.
This high profile airport solar project will create hundreds of construction, manufacturing and maintenance jobs in Rockford.
"Our Farm firmly plants a prodigious prototype to be followed by other Illinois cities and other airports throughout the country for the reduction of carbon emissions, management of energy costs and most importantly the much needed creation of highly paid skilled jobs," said Michael Pontarelli, Senior Vice President of Development of New Generation Power.
Ameren Illinois has also executed a 20-year Power Purchase Agreement with Rockford Solar Partners to acquire the energy and all renewable attributes from the project as part of the Illinois Power Agency's long-term renewable energy procurement program.
"We praise the City of Rockford and the Greater Rockford Airport Authority for their vision in the adoption of solar energy and being the catalyst for green power in Illinois," said Dr. Chirinjeev Kathuria, President of New Generation Power.
Rockford Solar Partners has committed to scale up the project to 62 Megawatts to help meet the demands of the Illinois solar renewable portfolio standard, which projects 6% solar by 2015.
Ultimately, Rockford will have one of the largest solar farms in the United States.
In March 2010, The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) awarded a grant of $4,025,000 to Rockford Solar Partners, equivalent to 3.17% of the Project's total cost. The remaining 98.63% will be financed by nongovernmental sources. The federal funding was awarded pursuant to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) Community Renewable Energy Program to create and retain jobs.
ABOUT NEW GENERATION POWER
New Generation Power, headquartered in Chicago, IL, develops solar PV, solar thermal, waste to energy, biomass, hydro, and wind projects and develops electric distribution at utility scale throughout the U.S. and globally. New Generation Power works in partnership with a number of the world's leading renewable energy developers and manufacturers.
ABOUT WANXIANG AMERICA CORPORATION
Wanxiang America Corporation, headquartered in Elgin, IL, is the U.S. subsidiary of Wanxiang Group Companies, one of the largest companies in China with $13 billion in revenues. Wanxiang currently has 4,100 employees in the U.S. and over 45,000 worldwide. Wanxiang Solar is a major player in renewable energy production, including wind and solar, and is the largest manufacturer of medium/large size silicon ingot and wafer cutting in China.