Korean partnership could bring smart grid program to Oak Park
Updated: November 19, 2012 1:19PM
OAK PARK — Village officials are considering an agreement to develop a solar-powered smart grid electrical system in 200 Oak Park homes and several commercial buildings
Oak Park trustees discussed a memorandum of understanding for the Smart City USA Project, an international smart grid collaboration, during a special meeting Thursday.
On Thursday, representatives from the Korean Smart Grid Institute, the Illinois Science and Technology Coalition and the Institute for Sustainable Energy presented and further explained the project.
The pilot program will include placement of 12-13 solar panels on 200 resident’s roofs, with battery backup options in sites around the community.
“The benefits are countless,” said Andrew Barbeau, Institute for Sustainable Energy president.
He said participants can experience cost savings, access to sustainability sources and reliability improvements.
“The actual cost savings would be about $500 a year on electric bills,” he added.
The participants would also be asked to be a part of demand response system.
This occurs during peak demand periods, typically the hottest days of summer. Residents would be asked to reduce or shift their power use during those times.
This could potentially be an automatic response, as well.
Data collected would be analyzed, and residents would be reimbursed for their participation.
Bob Greenlee, Illinois Science and Technology Coalition legal counsel, broke down the agreement for village trustees on Thursday.
Phase one is the monitoring phase, which would include Korean companies providing hardware, an estimated cost of $600,000.
To pay for installation, state and private grants would provide $160,000.
The solar stage, phase two, was estimated at $5 million, 50 percent funded by Korean companies and 50 percent by state and private grants.
“We want to make it clear that the village of Oak Park and its participants will have no funding requirements,” Greenlee said.
K.C. Poulos, Oak Park’s sustainability manager, said Oak Park’s role is to educate residents about the project, and to select participants.
Trustee John Hedges asked how the village would choose the 200 participants.
Poulos said participating homes must have a south facing roof space and no tree canopy. She suggested a lottery system would be fair.
Trustees will examine the agreement further at their meeting Monday evening.