Solar energy was the topic for Fox Valley Sustainability Network's second forum on June 8 at the Two Brothers Roundhouse in Aurora. The network is a project of Seven Generations Ahead, Kane County, the City of Aurora, and a5 Inc., Branding + Digital in collaboration with the Fox Valley communities and counties.
Johnson talked about how solar can work in markets where electricity is inexpensive. "A few years ago we found a way to monetize stored solar to create a business base called intelligent solar," he said. "This allows consumers to invest in solar in areas where electricity is expensive. Mainly commercial, residential is on its way."
Walters, an electrical engineer and president and CEO of Naperville-based WCP, has more than 30 years experience in renewable energy and consulting in solar systems. He addressed the potential for solar in Illinois, which "only gets 3 percent less sun than Miami," or the same amount as New Jersey, second in the U.S. with the total number of homes and businesses that have solar panels installed. "Germany has the highest concentration of solar in the entire world," Walters said. "But the U.S. gets a lot more sun. Where we are, we can do just as much as Atlanta and Georgia."
WCP specializes in solar photovoltaic and thermal systems. Earlier this year, WCP constructed roof-mounted solar panels on a Buffalo Grove, Ill., building that hosts a skating rink. The grid-connected system ties directly into ComEd's power grid and generates enough electricity to provide power to more than 23 percent of the facility's electrical needs.