Chicago Utility to Provide 100 Homes with Free Solar in Pilot Program
ComEd, a Chicago utility company owned by Exelon Corporation, just announced a pilot project to provide 100 area homes with solar photovoltaic panels. At least 50 homes will also have 'smart' meters installed with battery backup, net metering and a grid tie-in to send unused energy back into the grid. The aim of the project is to turn each of these homes into a 'mini-utility' according to Val Jensen, ComEd Environmental and Marketing Vice President.
In addition, the smart-use program will provide 3,100 customers with an energy-use display meter and 1,500 customers will each receive a touch-screen device to monitor electricity and Internet access. An additional 400 users will have programmable thermostats installed with remote controls for heating and air-conditioning units. The project is partially funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009, which is providing $5 million, while ComEd and their technology vendors are investing an additional $3 million.