April 23, 2009

Windy City to have huge solar power plant

Exelon Corp. and SunPower Corp. have announced a plan to build a $60 million, 10-megawatt solar-power plant in Chicago by the end of 2009.

The plan is contingent upon approval of a loan guarantee provided in the $787 billion federal stimulus package, Exelon said in a statement.

Exelon is investing aggressively but wisely in renewables as part of our comprehensive environmental strategy, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer John Rowe said.

The project involves covering 39 acres of the West Pullman Industrial Redevelopment Area with 32,800 solar panels -- enough to power up to 1,500 homes per year.

In emissions savings, the project is estimated to displace about 31.2 million pounds of greenhouse gas emissions per year, the equivalent of taking 2,500 cars off the road, Exelon said.

Exelon said it would be the country's largest urban solar-power plant.

Today, SunPower's solar PV technology can be implemented anywhere at any scale -- from rooftops to parking lots, SunPower CEO Tom Werner said.

City alderman Carrie Austin said the project will benefit the Pullman community in many ways, including increased economic activity, new jobs, and the revitalization of these unused parcels of land.