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Commonwealth Edison (ComEd) has been a major player in the efforts to make Chicago one of the greenest cities in the country. Through its many solar initiatives, it has committed millions of dollars to developing renewable energy technology throughout Chicago. A significant solar portfolio has helped Illinois rank fourth among US states in terms of installed solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity, based on preliminary data compared against May 2003 National Renewable Energy Laboratory statistics. Driving the results are initiatives such as net metering that allows customers to sell their excess generation from solar electric systems back to the utility, easy-to-use interconnection guidelines for solar systems, and solar installation incentives for Chicago residents and businesses. Some noteworthy results of these initiatives are the Chicago Solar Partnership, the Chicago Center for Green Technology, building integrated photovoltaic technology in Chicago's Millennium Park, and adding solar to the Chicago 911 Emergency Communications Center, all of which are discussed in detail in this article following a description of the influential and groundbreaking milestone-jumpstarting the green certificate market in the Midwest.
Date of Publication: Nov.-Dec. 2003