FEJA has created a new and exciting dynamic for solar opportunities within our communities, and the Lake County Board is excited to explore community solar with our government partners. In recent months, our communities have fielded calls from numerous developers asking to install solar arrays on public land and facilities including schools, parks, and municipal property. Whether these developments provide power for facilities, community solar for local residents, or are tailored for low-income residents, the contracts with developers are essentially power purchase agreements that, in most cases, must be managed through the procurement process.
Lake County is in the process of reviewing proposals to bring solar power to County and municipal facilities. If communities have questions about the RFP, contact the Lake County Purchasing Division at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 847-377-2929.
Many codes have not been updated to reflect solar trends across the full spectrum of deployment, and some don't address solar at all. Without specific regulations, projects may be forced into a land use category which may not be appropriate or sufficiently tailored to solar.
Adopting solar-specific codes will allow planners to address elements such as height, security features, landscaping and lot coverage. Municipalities could allow solar "by-right" as an accessory or principal-use, or require a special/conditional use. Lake County is creating a Solar Energy Task Force in partnership with local communities to develop a solar energy model ordinance that will serve as a template for communities to use when adopting solar specific zoning codes. Lake County and our partners aim to modernize regulations to adapt to emerging trends in solar technology. If you would like to know more about this effort, please contact us at GreenTeam@lakecountyil.gov.