The New Projects Include the Largest Solar-Powered System at a School District in Illinois
and an On-Site System for a Global Tier One Auto Supplier
SAN FRANCISCO — October 27, 2020 — ForeFront Power, a leading developer of distributed solar and energy storage projects in the U.S., today announced the completion of six solar projects in Illinois, adding 6.6 megawatts-DC (MWdc) / 5.5 megawatts-AC (MWac) of distributed power generation in McHenry and Marion Counties. Including these six new rooftop and ground-mount projects, ForeFront Power has now developed a total of 22.9 MWdc of solar energy projects in Illinois, resulting in $46.7 million dollars of investment in the state. All of these projects received incentives through the state’s Adjustable Block Program (ABP), which was established by the Future Energy Jobs Act to support the development of new photovoltaic distributed generation and community solar projects in Illinois.
“We’re proud to help the State of Illinois push toward its target of 25 percent renewable energy by the end of 2025. Thanks to the Adjustable Block Program, the six Aisin and Huntley solar energy projects have collectively generated 71 family-supporting jobs in the state this year, and will save these two customers millions of dollars,” said Rachel McLaughlin, vice president of sales and marketing at ForeFront Power. “We continue to see strong demand from customers who are excited to adopt locally sourced energy and to save on their electricity bills. Unfortunately, unless the renewable energy funding cliff is fixed in Springfield, continued development in the state looks infeasible for the next several years.”
The ABP allows qualifying new distributed generation projects to sell solar renewable energy credits (SRECs) to local utilities, which significantly reduces the cost of the generated energy. The SRECs are then retired to count toward Illinois’ renewable energy goals.
About the Aisin and Huntley Portfolios
Midwest Wind and Solar served as ForeFront Power’s engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) partner on the Aisin portfolio, while SolAmerica served as the EPC partner for the Huntley projects. The vast majority of the jobs created on these six solar projects were union jobs.
The Aisin Portfolio
Located 300 miles south of Chicago in Marion, Ill., the Aisin portfolio includes three solar energy projects with power sold to Aisin Illinois, subsidiary of global Tier One auto supplier, AISIN Group. The clean electricity from more than 2,900 solar panels will power manufacturing operations at Aisin MFG Illinois, Aisin Electronics Illinois, and Aisin Light Metals. Aisin Group employs 110,000 employees globally across its companies and has set a carbon reduction target of 59.9 tons of carbon dioxide per million sales dollars.
“We’re not just cutting emissions and costs with solar. We’re creating a more sustainable society and better serving the communities in which we operate,” said Jeff Copeland, general manager of environmental safety and energy at Aisin World Corp. of America. “We’re helping our customers and our local utility meet sustainability targets as well. All in all, investing in solar energy makes us a better community partner.”
The Huntley Portfolio
The Huntley Portfolio constitutes the largest solar-powered system at a school district in the State of Illinois, spanning three ground-mounted solar installations across three campuses in Huntley Community School District 158. Huntley has been one of the fastest-growing school districts in Illinois over the past decade, today serving 8,900 PreK-12 students and employing more than 1,400 staff members. This 5.5 MWdc portfolio of solar projects announced in January 2020 will offset 12.3 million pounds of carbon emissions.
“In our 100th year of existence, Huntley 158 is delighted to further our legacy of innovation by powering our operations with cost-effective, clean electricity from 15,100 solar panels,” said Dr. Scott Rowe, superintendent of Huntley 158. “We maintain among the lowest per-pupil spending rates in all of Northern Illinois, and we see the millions of dollars in utility bills saved thanks to these projects as an opportunity to reinvest taxpayer dollars directly into student education, allowing us to more effectively educate tomorrow’s leaders.”
About ForeFront Power
ForeFront Power is one of the fastest-growing solar and energy storage companies in the U.S., now ranked a top ten player nationally in commercial solar development and asset management according to energy research firm Wood Mackenzie. The ForeFront Power team holds more than a decade of experience working together across nearly one gigawatt (GW) of renewable electricity, spanning more than 1,300 distributed generation and community solar projects. Serving business, the public sector and community solar customers in the U.S. and Mexico, ForeFront Power is headquartered in San Francisco, with offices in New York City and Mexico City. ForeFront Power is a wholly owned subsidiary of Mitsui & Co. Ltd., a global energy infrastructure and investment leader with a robust balance sheet and an “A” credit rating from Standard & Poor’s. For more information, visit forefrontpower.com.
About Aisin Group
AISIN Group is the sixth largest global Tier One supplier of automotive components and systems such as brakes, transmissions, navigation systems, drivetrain, chassis, body, engine-related parts, electronics and intelligent transportation systems, and the largest transmission manufacturer in the world. A $35 billion company, AISIN Group has over 200 consolidated companies and employs approximately 110,000 people. In the Americas, AISIN Group companies include 14,000 employees, 36 manufacturing, sales, and research and development centers, including Aisin Technical Center of America located at the North American headquarters in Northville, Mich., and FT-Techno of America, the company’s 950-acre test track and proving ground in Fowlerville, Mich.
About Huntley School District 158
Located in McHenry and Kane counties of northern Illinois, Huntley School District 158 serves 8,900 students in Pre-Kindergarten through grade 12, residing in Huntley, western portions of Lake in the Hills and Algonquin, and surrounding areas. The District employs more than 1,400 staff members and has been one of the fastest-growing school districts in Illinois over the past two decades. The District gained renown for its campus-concept idea, devised to accommodate the huge population growth it experienced in the 2000s. Over that period, the District transformed from a one elementary/one high school district to its current five elementary schools, two middle schools, and one high school, located on three campuses. Huntley 158 has been recognized as a leader at state and national levels for bringing innovation to K-12 education, while at the same time maintaining among the lowest per-pupil spending rates in all of Northern Illinois.
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James Cortese for ForeFront Power