For Immediate Release
ComEd Media Relations
Solar energy project supports microgrid in Chicago's Bronzeville neighborhood
CHICAGO (June 5, 2019) – In a first of its kind public and private sector innovation project for
Chicago, the Dearborn Homes public housing development that serves more than 600 families in
Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood, is producing clean, renewable energy from the sun with
private solar panels primarily on its rooftops. This solar installation completed this month
supports ComEd’s Bronzeville Community microgrid, a small power grid that can generate its
own power to keep electricity flowing to customers and support critical public services when
there’s an interruption on the main grid.
The Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) is partnering with Chicago-based VLV Development – a
veteran-owned, diversity-certified business – to finance, design and maintain the solar installation
project at Dearborn Homes, the first Chicago public housing community built after World War II.
The solar installation is expected to have a generation capacity of 750 kilowatts and will help
power the property’s 17 buildings, including 660 residential units.
“This project illustrates how communities, government and local businesses can come together to
transform properties with clean energy solutions that achieve multiple goals,” said Terence R.Donnelly, president and chief operating officer, ComEd. “This is the model for the future, and
we’re partnering with VLV to bring the benefits of solar energy to our customers living in
Dearborn Homes, the CHA and the Bronzeville community.”
“This innovative partnership places CHA at the forefront of the clean energy industry,” said CHA
CEO Eugene E. Jones, Jr. “We are glad to take these steps to ensure energy efficiency and better
outcomes for our communities.”
The Future Energy Jobs Act (FEJA) that went into effect in 2017 offers incentives for the project
that reduce upfront costs associated with solar panel installation. VLV has installed 2.5
megawatts of solar energy on multifamily and commercial buildings in Illinois and is partnering
with the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners in workforce training programs
funded by FEJA. Focused on growing low-carbon energy, FEJA aims to power 1 million Illinois
homes by solar and wind energy by 2030.
Van Vincent, president and CEO of VLV Development, said solar power is gaining traction in
Illinois. “There is great momentum in our industry and we’re excited to partner with the CHA and
ComEd to support the Bronzeville microgrid and bring clean energy to the community.”
The solar energy installation at Dearborn Homes is supported by a $4 million grant that ComEd received from the U.S. Department of Energy to design and deploy solar and battery storage technology in a microgrid. Construction of ComEd’s microgrid began in June 2018. The microgrid project will be completed in 2020 and directly serve more than 1,000 households and businesses. The demonstration project will create benefits for all ComEd customers as the company seeks effective ways to further enhance grid security and resiliency in Illinois.
The Dearborn Homes solar conversion brings another exciting dimension to ComEd’s Community of the Future in Bronzeville, where the company collaborates with residents to identify needs and opportunities to leverage smart grid technology and related services. In addition to the microgrid, technology pilots include an electric vehicle transportation service; off-grid wind and solar LED streetlights; and outdoor interactive displays providing community news, emergency alerts, way finding and public Wi-Fi. The effort also supports educational programs promoting development of STEM skills among area high school students.
Commonwealth Edison Company (ComEd) is a unit of Chicago-based Exelon Corporation (NASDAQ: EXC), the nation’s leading competitive energy provider, with approximately 10 million customers. ComEd provides service to approximately 4 million customers across northern Illinois, or 70 percent of the state’s population. For more information visit
ComEd.com, and connect with the company on
Twitter, Instagram and