Renewable energy projects have been popping up across the country.  Locally, new solar projects have been installed on acreages and connected to the grid.  Other solar and wind developments have been proposed for the area.  Solar panels can now be seen on many homes and businesses.  

There are many terms flying around related to renewable energy projects such as: residential solar, solar farm, community solar, community wind, utility scale project, residential project, etc. ‘What is the difference between these terms?’ ‘How do they fit into my home energy picture, or on my land?’ University of Illinois Extension’s Environmental and Energy Stewardship Educator Stanley Solomon will discuss these questions and much more at the Solar and Wind Renewable Energy Workshop at 6 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 29.  The workshop will be held at Stephenson County Farm Bureau, 210 W. Spring Street, Freeport, IL.

“Solar or wind farm are generic terms used for larger projects,” explains Solomon. “Most ‘farms’ supply energy to the regional utility grid. However, many of the newer solar and some wind developments are community-oriented projects supplying energy to the local electric grid. The developments offer residents and businesses an option to a system installed at their location.”

These community projects offer homeowners and residents opportunities for participating in renewable energy benefits, including locking in lower energy cost and local energy production. The benefits include the system located away from the residence and managed by someone else.  We will look at the economics and policies driving these renewable energy developments.

‘How is the energy added into the power grid?’ ‘Who is buying/using the energy?’ ‘How is the land under the project being utilized and managed?’  These are some of the questions landowners and community members will find helpful in making informed decisions.  Solomon will share some of the various answers and implication during the workshop.

If you are landowner who has been approach by a renewal energy developer, interested in installing your own renewable project, or just interested in learning more about renewable energy, plan to join us for this workshop.