The US Department of Energy (DOE) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) have issued Rockford Solar Partners, a joint venture between Wanxiang American and New Generation Power, the FONSI, “Finding of No Significant Impact” for the proposed 20MW solar farm at the Rockford Airport. The project will be able to utilize 70 acres of land at the Chicago-Rockford International Airport for what is being called the largest commercial airport-based solar project in the US.
Wanxiang America will provide the PV panels for the solar farm from its 30MW Rockford solar panel assembly plant. Rockford Solar Partners advised that Ameren Illinois has signed a 20-year PPA with the company to buy the energy and all renewable attributes from the project with Rockford Solar Partners additionally noting that it had committed to scale up the project to 62MW in order to help meet the requirements of the Illinois solar renewable portfolio standard.
“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 with New Generation Power.
The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) awarded a US$4,025,000 grant in March 2010 to Rockford Solar to cover 3.17% of the projects total cost. The outstanding 98.63% is set to be financed through nongovernmental sources.