The solar panels worth $22,000 have been set up at the Collinsville Area Recreation District on the Willoughby Heritage Farm and Conservation Reserve. This installation is expected to produce around $40-$80 per month in electricity with the power bill of around $30 from the site. Carol Frerker, the farm Coordinator said when there was less sunlight during the snow in December they were able to produce more power than compared to other months.

Carol Frerker also said with these solar panels, the visitors will be able to know more about the conservation and it is one of the main purpose of the place. The grants for the project were received from the county and the state. Around 14 solar panels were set up in the 30 acre site on a wooden structure and the systems were joined directly to the electric meter of the farm.

The solar panels may produce around 300 to 600 kilowatts of power each month and the balance power from the project after the usage will be used to the utility company Ameren Illinois. Mid America Advanced Power Solutions, the solar installer installed the system during the month of November. Jason Hark, the president of Mid America Advanced Power Solutions said the solar systems are capable of functioning in places like this and other places such as Dallas which is sunnier.

During the month of December 2002 the Willoughby was purchased by the Recreation District and fixed it to run as a family farm similar to 1930-1950s. They build up a pavilion, barn and a restrooms and the farm also contains various community groups and schools. The state was also helpful in providing more money for developing the solar panels at 4 Edwardsville elementary schools and the same has been installed on the Southwestern Illinois College campus in the Granite City.

source: biofuelswatch