Utility All-In on Distributed: ComEd Tops 1 GW of DERs

June 20, 2024
More than 59,000 DERd on the ComEd smart grid include 1,582 commercial systems, 118 community solar farms, 23 industrial and two utility scale projects.

Chicago-based distribution utility ComEd has interconnected more than 1 GW of distributed energy resources (DER) capacity to the main grid, including 57,780 residential rooftop solar systems.

According to the Solar Energy Industry Association, the more than 59,000 DER on the ComEd smart grid include 1,582 commercial systems, 118 community solar farms, 23 industrial and two utility scale projects, placing Illinois first among Midwestern states based on DER and second for total capacity.

The utility has supported 114 percent annual growth in DER for residential customers and 25 percent annual growth for C&I customers. Community solar has increased to more than 4,000 percent since the first project was placed into service in the ComEd service territory in 2019.

The long-planned Bronzeville microgrid cluster was recently put into operation and islanded to function separate from the main grid. 

ComEd also has received 8,273 new interconnection applications and completed 5,073 systems totaling 95.76 MW of capacity through May 2024, demonstrating the positive impact of climate legislation in Illinois and growing consumer interest in managing energy bills and reducing their carbon footprint with solar energy.

The expected DER capacity could increase to over 1,900 MW by 2025 and to more than 3,600 MW by 2030, or enough energy to power approximately 120,000 homes for one year. Moreover, DER technologies also include assets helping balance and control demand on the grid, such as battery storage and batteries in electric vehicles used to export power back to the grid.

ComEd is anticipating more than 150 community solar projects interconnected to its distribution system serving a total of about 40,000 customers by the end of 2024. Community solar participants subscribe to a large solar energy project owned by an independent developer and earn credits on their monthly ComEd bills for their portion of the electricity produced by the project.

Rebate programs are available to commercial and residential renewable energy facilities, valued at up to $300 per kW for an eligible distributed generation facility, such as rooftop solar, and up to $300 per kWh for an associated energy storage device.

ComEd has filed a multi-year grid and rate plans with the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) which outlines the proposed investments required to support the expansion of renewable energy and help ensure equitable access to the benefits of clean energy under the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act.

The plans align with ComEd 2030, the company's vision for a carbon-free energy future to benefit all communities and meet customers' changing requirements now and in the future.