Carlinville CUSD#1 Proposed Solar Project
In an effort to reduce ever-rising energy costs, be good stewards of district resources, and model green energy for students and the community, Carlinville CUSD#1 has pursued a solar option.
Reason for Solar
- Lower energy costs
- Become more green using renewable energy sources
- Reduce energy costs as a good steward of public funds
- Collaborate with solar company to provide educational opportunities related to solar arrays
- Utilize solar energy incentives offered by the Illinois Power Agency
Cost/Financing of Project
At this time, the district does not have the financial resources to fund the solar arrays. Carlinville CUSD#1 applied for (with the help of Solential Energy) and was awarded the adjustable block program incentives through the Illinois Power Agency. Due to the cost related to installing solar panels and the inability of a school district to sell energy back onto the energy grid, Carlinville CUSD#1 cannot afford to install arrays without support from a third party investor. The “program” the district was awarded provides incentives to these third party investors and allows them to finance the cost of the arrays while allowing the District to purchase energy at a lower rate.
If the District can reach a power purchase agreement and site lease with the financing group, the school will not pay for the installation or maintenance of the arrays but benefit from the low cost energy being produced.
On average, the District currently pays about $.08/kWh and the grant would allow the district to receive electricity at $.054/kWh or less. This would be about a $27,000 savings a year for the next 20 plus years assuming energy rates do not increase. If electricity rates increase, the saving would be greater.
Information about the Adjustable Block Program
The Adjustable Block Program was established by the Future Energy Jobs Act (Public Act 99-0906, effective June 1, 2017) The program is run by the Illinois Power Agency through its Program Administrator, InClime. The adjustable block grant is a state-administered incentive program supporting the development of new solar energy generation in Illinois. The adjustable block program is also known as Illinois Shines.
The Adjustable Block Program will offer a set price for purchase of Renewable Energy Credits (“RECs”) via 15-year contracts from qualifying projects, and the price will be adjusted for successive volumetric blocks (hence the “adjustable block” name) based on market response. If you are interested in details regarding the program, go to http://illinoisabp.com
Without the program incentives, funding the arrays for Carlinville CUSD#1 would not be profitable for a third party investor nor would the cost provide the district a good ROI at this time.
To meet the energy needs of the Carlinville District, the proposal includes 3 separate ground mount array areas. The arrays are located in areas that will not interfere with any future additions or changes regarding the buildings. Since these arrays would be in place for 20 or more years, it is important to locate the arrays in areas where construction interference is unlikely.
The arrays will not be located on the buildings as this causes issues with future roof replacement, tax exempt status of certain projects and could create issues with current heating and cooling structures on the roofs.
The following are links to the proposed placement. The drawings demonstrate the proposed areas in yellow. However, the arrays themselves are similar to the picture provided to the right.
The proposed arrays at the Primary School would be located in the southeast corner of the property and take up approximately 2-2.5 acres.
The proposed Intermediate School array would be located between the parking lot and the bus garage.
Finally, the proposed High/Middle School array would be located on the 3 acres on the north side of the current Ag plot near the baseball field.
The arrays would be south facing and have 6-8 ft. fencing surrounding them with wire around the top as they are considered power stations. The solar panels themselves are not dangerous to the touch but the energy being converted does contain several kWh and grabbing power lines is dangerous in any power station.
Others in the Area Receiving the Illinois Power Agency Adjustable Block program
You can find a complete list through the adjustable block grant site.
Locally, Blackburn College, Greenville University, Lincoln Land College, and Carlinville Walmart are also among those awarded the program.
School Districts in the State other than Carlinville CUSD#1 include:
Granite City CUSD#9
High Mount School District
Triad School District
Lincoln CHS 404
Waterloo High and Junior High Schools
Monticello CUSD#25Farmington Central CUSD#256
Cahokia CUSD# 1