62 MW solar farm for Chicago-Rockford International Airport


Environment approval has just been received for 20 MW to be installed at the airport, which has over 70 acres of "prime" space available. However, in a statement released, it was said that Rockford Solar Partners has committed to scaling up the project to 62 MW. No further details were released however, pertaining to when construction will begin.

Meanwhile, Ameren Illinois has finalized a 20-year Power Purchase Agreement with Rockford Solar Partners to acquire both the energy and renewable attributes from the 20 MW project.

Wanxiang America, the U.S. subsidiary of one of the largest non-state owned companies in China, will supply the photovoltaic panels needed for the system. They will be manufactured at the company’s Rockford-based solar panel assembly plant. While the plant has a current annual manufacturing capacity of 30 MW, plans are underway to add a further 60 MW of capacity.

"Panel production is well underway and Wanxiang will ramp up jobs and production as the project expands," said New Generation Power in a statement released.

In terms of financing, Rockford Solar Partners was awarded a USD$4 million grant by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) in March 2010. This figure, says New Generation Power, is equivalent to 3.17 percent of the project’s total cost. It adds that the remaining 98.63 percent will be financed by nongovernmental sources.