Illinois Governor Pat Quinn yesterday announced funding for the first phase of the Rockford Solar Project, the largest solar field development in the Midwest, at the ribbon cutting to open Wanxiang America Corporation’s new solar panel manufacturing plant in Rockford.
The state is providing Wanxiang $4,025,000 million in federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds to help create jobs and increase solar energy production in the state. The fund will support the initial 28 megawatts of a new 62 MW solar photovoltaic electric generation facility.
Rockford Solar Partners is a joint venture between Wanxiang and Chicago-based renewable energy developer, New Generation Power.
“The state’s investment will help ensure Illinois remains a leader in renewable energy development, while continuing to build on the state’s energy independence goals,” said Governor Quinn. “With partnerships with companies like Wanxiang, we’re creating hundreds of sustainable, green-collar jobs and providing an economic boost to the entire state.”
The Rockford Project new facility will save more than 40 million gallons of water annually and will reduce carbon dioxide emissions at a rate of more than 10,000 tons annually, or about 28 tons each day. Solar photovoltaic panels will be sourced locally from the Wanxiang’s Rockford Plant.
In March 2009, Governor Quinn announced a $2 million investment package to support Wanxiang’s plans to establish the new 200-acre solar panel manufacturing facility, which is located at the Rockford International Airport. Together, these investments will create more than 155 new jobs.
Illinois Governor Quinn signed two bills into law that promote energy independence by furthering the use of solar power. House Bill 6202 which establishes the annual interim solar targets to reach the solar renewable portfolio standard of 6 % by 1 June 2015
House Bill 5429 allows individual homeowners to construct solar energy panels on their homes, provided the individual homeowners follow certain guidelines and restrictions. House Bill 5429 will take effect Jan. 1, 2011.
Wanxiang America Corporation, headquartered in Elgin, is the U.S. subsidiary of Wanxiang Group Companies, one of the largest companies in China with $8 billion in revenues. Wanxiang currently has 4,100 employees in the U.S. and over 45,000 worldwide. Wanxiang Solar is a major player in renewable energy production, including wind and solar.