Part of the Illinois Shines or Adjustable Block Program, each of the 3 MW community solar projects will use bifacial solar modules and FLEXRACK by Qcells solar trackers, and will each provide pollinator-friendly habitats. The projects will begin construction in Q4 2023. Once complete, Castillo and RECON will have collectively completed more than 60 community solar projects in Illinois, topping 200 MW.
“We selected Castillo Engineering for these projects due to their extensive community solar experience within Illinois,” said Scott Walker, president at RECON Corp., a Midwestern EPC and solar contractor. “Castillo Engineering also offers a streamlined design approach due to their in-house civil and electrical teams, which helps with optimizing designs, from fault current ratings to equipment pad design.”
Castillo Engineering’s team was able to optimize and reduce the cost of mid-voltage equipment through utility fault current insights on all five of these projects. Voltage drop and wire sizes for direct current circuits were also reduced after assessing the impact of the bifacial modules. Additionally, the firm’s in-house civil engineering team was able to optimize the access road to incorporate existing conditions, reducing permitting time and costs for each of these community solar projects.
Community solar capacity in the United States is expected to double by 2027, according to Wood Mackenzie. Illinois is now ranked as the fourth largest U.S. state in terms of community solar operating capacity, with community solar systems having grown 166% from 2021 to 2022 alone. Over the past two years, Castillo Engineering has seen its business in Illinois grow from less than ten projects in 2021 to the state becoming the company’s second largest and fastest growing market.
“We are grateful to have the opportunity to partner with an industry-leading EPC and solar contractor like RECON Corporation on these impactful projects in the Midwest,” said Christopher Castillo, CEO at Castillo Engineering. “RECON Corporation’s deep community solar expertise within Illinois is unmatched and we look forward to working together to enable many more low and moderate income households access to renewable and affordable energy throughout the state.”
— Solar Builder magazine