It was encouraging to see representatives of Sol Systems back in Danville last week in the hopes of reviving a large solar energy project the company wants to construct on the city’s west side.
Sol Systems initial effort to build solar arrays near Aqua Illinois’ water plant west of Logan Avenue hit a snag when homeowners in the area protested to the members of the zoning commission. The proposal was rejected.
Last week, the company met with those neighbors to explain a revised plan. The new project includes more distance between the solar panels and their neighbors, higher fences and more vegetation to improve appearance, and the modification of static panels instead of those that would turn with the sun via motors to eliminate any noise.
The project represents a significant investment for the company and the potential for significant energy savings for Aqua Illinois, which should translate into fewer increases in their customers’ water bills.
The project also represents the growing trend in global energy. The days of coal, oil and natural gas are waning. Limited supply, the expense of extraction and the effects on our climate all make the use of fossil fuels a losing proposition.
The switch to solar and wind power — represented by the large turbines that popped up in Vermilion County and other locations in the region in recent years, offer renewable and clean energy. The technology to make better use of the wind and sun as sources of power continues to improve, making such efforts more efficient and less expensive.
There could well come a day when we gather all the energy we need via roof panels and smaller versions of windmills in our back yards. Those who want to get off the grid already can make their own way if they want to pay the cost.
In the meantime, projects such as the one proposed by Sol Systems offer customers clean, reliable energy at an affordable price. With the concerns of the project’s neighbors resolved, at least in part, members of the city’s zoning commission should look more favorably on the proposal the next time it shows up on their agenda.