Naperville Expands Renewable Energy Program

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At the most recent Naperville City Council meeting, the dais considered expanding Naperville’s Renewable Energy Program to encourage residents to participate.

“To me, this is the most no-brainer thing we could approve,” said Councilman John Krummen. “The Public Utility Advisory Board has talked about this for years. The electric department has talked about this for years so I’m in 125% support of this.”

Residents Now Included

The program began in 2004 and only included commercial customers, incentivizing renewable practices like installing solar panels.

But now, residents can also qualify for an incentive of up to $1,000.

City staff’s Lucy Podlesny said as the energy industry changes, they’ll continue to modify the program.

“This is a first phased-in approach of it. It’s to make a necessary adjustment that hasn’t been done in the last 15 years and there will be tons of changes coming down the line and we’re committed to looking at this continuously and adjusting it where needed,” said Podlesny.

Divided Dais

It was a tight vote, but council decided 5-4 to make the changes to the program. Mayor Steve Chirico was one of the votes against the proposal, saying the program needs even stronger incentives for residents.

“I don’t think they’re given enough,” said Chirico. “The $1,000 cap is just not enough of an incentive. I think it should be based on per kWh and $300/kWh makes it considerably more incentivized to invest.”

Chirico also said there needs to be more focus in the program on conserving energy to go along with using renewable energy sources.

Naperville News 17’s Casey Krajewski reports.