Cook County Looks to Advance Solar Projects
In Illinois, the sun is doing more than just warming the ground. Popping up across the countryside, including in Cook County, are solar farms. Illinois’ boom in solar energy projects is likely the result of the state’s Future Energy Jobs Act. This Act sets a target of 25 percent of electricity from renewable sources by 2025. According to the Digital Journal, at the end of the second quarter, Illinois ranked 34th up from 43rd in 2017 in solar capacity. The state is projected to add over 1,800 megawatts of solar capacity in the next five years, an increase of nearly 1,900 percent over today.
Earlier this fall, Cook County Farm Bureau® staff met with the Cook County Department of Building and Zoning to discuss how the County will handle solar farms, community-based solar projects, and individual solar projects.
Generally, solar panels in unincorporated areas will be permitted in all residential districts but may require a special use permit or planned urban development (PUD) designation depending on their location.
Going forward, the County is in the process of developing solar and other green energy standards. Farm Bureau staff will monitor the process and provide insights as warranted.