Third-generation Electrician Helps Others Harness the Power of the Sun
For Chris Williams of Millennium Solar Electric, located in Park Forest, Ill., preaching about solar energy is a family affair. His father began Reliable Electric in the 1970s. Chris and his brothers apprenticed under their father and in 2000 took over the business and renamed it Millennium Electric. But it was also at that time that Chris had a vision of the future.
“The whole country was under the Y2K scare. I started really looking into solar energy at that time – and now I see it as a really important part of how the grid works in the future. It’s why we renamed the company Millennium Solar Electric,” Chris recalls.
Chris took classes at the Midwest Renewable Energy Association and eventually became a founder of the South Suburban Renewable Energy Association. Millennium Solar Electric also provides renewable energy training to companies who want to learn about the industry.
Always looking for opportunities to stay in the know, Chris recently attended ComEd’s announcement of a proposed new solar rebate program. The solar rebate proposal, which would require approval by the Illinois General Assembly, is part of ComEd’s commitment to driving the clean energy future Illinois’ consumers want. Chris sees it as a win-win for customers and his business.
“Customers who install solar are excited about the savings solar brings to their electric bills,” Chris says. “The ComEd solar rebate means they receive a return on their investment immediately.”
“For my business, it provides an opportunity to talk immediately about savings that customers can achieve. We are hoping that this will grow our business so we can hire more employees.”
The solar rebate is part of recently introduced legislation, the Next Generation Energy Plan (NGEP), and provides $1,000 per KW of installed solar capacity to residential customers and $500 per KW to commercial and industrial customers. The rebate is one of a host of NGEP provisions to jumpstart solar in Illinois; other provisions include $140 million annually in new funding for solar through a strengthened Renewable Portfolio Standard, access to community solar, equitable pricing policies, and lower up-front costs for consumers desiring to install solar devices.
“The solar rebates will greatly benefit residents and businesses in our communities, and will position Illinois as a leader in how to incorporate solar in a smart and responsible way,” says Reverend Walter Turner, New Spiritual Light Missionary Baptist Church in the South Shore neighborhood. “ComEd is committed to meeting the needs of our communities, and we’re glad to see their leadership in ensuring solar incentives and policies benefit all of us, not just some.”
“This innovative solar rebate proposal would help reduce barriers to solar ownership even as we work to adjust net-metering policies to ensure that some customers don’t have to pay more for the choices of other customers,” says Fidel Marquez, ComEd’s Senior Vice President of Government and External Affairs. “We are committed to the communities we serve, and this is a pioneering part of a smart solar policy that will benefit our customers and the environment for years to come.”