Rochelle is looking to add solar power to the portfolio of sources for the city’s utility. Rochelle Municipal Utility is applying for a state grant to help with development costs.
Dan Westin handles business and financial matters for Rochelle. He says as the business sector has grown, the city has had to supplement its own power generation by buying electricity from Com Ed. That need was only exacerbated by the hot weather last year.
“And it just turns out that when you look at this from a business point of view, solar fits into that demand picture very well, especially with the peaks of air conditioning in the summer months." -Dan Westin
Westin says that’s true with or without the state grant, although it would help kick-start the process.
Westin says solar power would be just a small part of the overall energy mix, but it could be significant. Westin says, with the large facilities in its business parks, Rochelle has about 8 million square feet of roof space. Westin say he figures if just 2 percent of that was fitted with solar power panels, the city could cover its summer peaks without buying electricity elsewhere.