The Illinois Smart Solar Alliance —a group of local community leaders, businesses and organizations from across Northern Illinois— hosted the first in a series of community events designed to educate communities on the benefit and future of solar energy. As part of its mission, the Alliance seeks to create dialogue and collaboration on solar development in order to spur the growth of green energy throughout Illinois.
At the event, students from Schmid Elementary School engaged in a learning session and witnessed a presentation on how solar panels work from Chris Williams, CEO of Millennium Solar Electric. An Illinois based company, Millennium Solar Electric specializes in the design and installation of commercial and residential solar systems.
“As a solar installer, information on solar was extremely limited when I started my business,” remarked Chris. “My hope is that others can access the training and opportunities that I struggled to receive locally so that we can work together to expand and grow solar ventures in Illinois.”
After the presentation, members of the Alliance and students gathered with the DuSable Museum of African American History President and CEO Perri Irmer to hear how the museum acquired and installed solar panels in 1998. The Museum, one of few Chicago buildings with a solar installation, is an example of the commitment to solar ISSA wishes to emulate in neighborhoods throughout Illinois.
“It is so important that we open up solar for our communities, especially for those that are often left out in the advancement of new technologies,” said Naomi Davis, President and Founder, Blacks in Green. “I look forward to working with the Illinois Smart Solar Alliance to identify ways to not only bring solar energy opportunities to the region but to also create new green jobs for our community.”
The Illinois Smart Solar Alliance has met regularly over the past few months, and today marks the first of a series of solar educational events and activities. In addition, Alliance members will continue to engage in dialogue regarding growing solar in their communities and identifying solutions to help their neighborhoods participate in Illinois’ growing green economy.
“I was pleased to host two Alliance meetings last month that helped spur lively discussions about the future of solar power in Illinois,” said Illinois Smart Solar Alliance member Bruce Montgomery. “Solar is an important energy source and we want to be positioned to be at the leading edge of the industry as it continues to expand. Collaborating with members from all over Northern Illinois and having a seat at the table will ensure that every group has a chance to be heard.”
Members of the growing Alliance include Blacks In Green, ComEd, Greater Englewood Community Development Corporation, HOW United and the Westside Ministers Coalition. The Alliance, which will meet regularly and host educational sessions for Illinois residents on the importance of smart energy policies, will be led by an advisory council.
“We are proud to be a principle founding partner of this emerging organization,” remarked Mark Falcone, Director, External Affairs, ComEd. “ComEd is excited to welcome solar to the region and engage our customers and communities as we seek to grow Illinois’ clean energy future.”
For more information about the Illinois Smart Solar Alliance, its mission, or ways to get involved, visit the Alliance’s website at Illinois-