Commercial, Industrial (C&I) Solar

Continental works with commercial and industrial facility owners and operators as well as solar developers to install solar energy facilities throughout Illinois and surrounding states on a case by case basis. We design, engineer and install rooftop, ground Mount, building integrated and carport solar structures. We also serve as the construction or installation arm of several solar developers who do their own design, engineering and procurement. To learn more about how solar works for your facility, contact us at (630) 637-2150 or reach out on our Contact form. See examples of our work here including IKEA, Magid Glove, Minerallac, and Simmons Knife & Saw.

We also install solar plus battery storage systems and microgrids which allow you to operate off grid, produce revenue from grid services like frequency regulation and keep your solar energy flowing during grid outages. Most people don’t realize that solar arrays are designed to disconnect from the grid whenever there is a grid outage, power outage or black out. This is a safety measure to protect line workers. If you have a battery installed with proper switchgear, you can go into ‘island mode’ when the grid is down. The battery wakes up the solar inverter and allows solar energy and battery power to work in tandem to power critical loads during power outages. This can generate very significant savings for certain types of facilities especially manufacturing, data centers, and other business assets that are costly when not operating 24/7.


Check out these solar and battery storage projects:

G+W Electric

G&W Electric | Solar Microgrid Project Powering the Future through Innovative Resilience  This solar microgrid project at G&W Electric Co. in Bolingbrook, IL is unlike any other project in the Midwest, if not the country. The expansive 2.4MWdc rooftop solar...

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Libman Solar Microgrid in Arcola, IL | Built-in Resiliency Powers Production For over 125 years, the Libman family has made quality their utmost priority. Now, with the latest in solar microgrid technology and solar battery storage systems, the Libman company can...

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ABT Electronics

ABT Electronics | Solar & ESS  Solar & Battery Storage Abt Electronics added a 100,000 sq. ft. warehouse in 2015 and seized the opportunity to install a large solar array plus battery storage system (ESS). Solar energy augments their other green...

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Continental Energy Solutions is currently installing a 2 MW battery in MISO in Central Illinois, where the battery will provide ride through power so the facility can avoid costly uncontrolled shut-downs, grid services and generous tax incentives. Owners can use the 26% ITC tax credit on solar and battery storage components when batteries are paired with solar arrays.

What is Distributed Generation and How Does It Work?

Distributed generation is another expression for rooftop or behind the meter solar. Solar PV (photovoltaics) is semiconductor based technology that makes electricity from sunlight. You put solar panels (solar modules) on your roof or ground, and they produce electricity that is consumed locally by your building, farm or factory.  All you need is a flat sunny roof or piece of ground. Get a Quote Today.

Continental only installs commercial solar. If you want solar for your home, please contact the Illinois Solar Energy Association for a list of residential solar installers. 

How solar pays back

There are four ways solar pays back and right now we have a payback period of 4-6 years for commercial solar in Illinois thanks to special incentives and rebates. Note that the early bird does get the worm with these incentives which are stepping down over time. Act now to maximize your ROI with solar. Contact Tim Montague for a quote today.

1. Energy Savings (100% of system value over the lifetime of the system; 20% every five years on average) – Solar PV is a way to reduce your energy bill. You can reduce your power bill by up to 75 percent with a well designed system. You generally cannot offset 100% of your bill because you still need grid services at night and other times the array isn’t producing power. Solar reduces kWh (kilowatt hour) supply charges, but not demand or capacity charges. 

2. Cash Incentives (~50% of system value) – Illinois has two generous cash incentives for system owners: SRECs and the smart inverter rebate. SRECs or Solar Renewable Energy Credits are generated when your solar array produces electricity 

3. Tax Credits (26% of system cost) – There is currently a federal tax credit of 26% on all solar equipment including solar plus battery storage equipment. This credit can be taken in year 1 or spread out over 20 years. This ‘Investment Tax Credit’ or ITC is a credit (worth it’s full value which you can deduct from your tax liability – contact your tax professional for more information) generous but stepping down so if you’re going to go solar, sooner is better. Next year in 2021 it goes down to 22 percent and then down to 10 percent in 2022 and beyond. See below for the Step Down schedule.

4. Accelerated Depreciation (100% bonus depreciation; 2018 tax bill) – Depending on your tax structure and liabilities, you can depreciate 100% of the value of solar equipment in year 1. 

Solar Rules in Illinois | Net Metering and Sizing Limits

Since 2008 when Illinois adopted our renewable portfolio standard of 25% clean power by 2025, the solar industry has been growing. At first it was very slow growth until 2017 when the Future Energy Jobs Act (FEJA) brought generous SREC cash incentives to the market. Now we have very rapid growth and somewhat of a feeding frenzy. 

Illinois has 100% retail net metering meaning that owners can offset up to 100% of the electricity supply with a behind the meter (rooftop) solar array. There is a cap of 2 megawatts AC on these rooftop or DG (distributed generation) projects. A 2 megawatt AC solar array might be six to seven thousand solar modules, so this is quite a large facility. The average residential solar system in Illinois is 7 kW or about 19 solar panels.

The vast majority of solar facilities are grid tied. If your facility isn’t consuming all of the energy that’s coming off of the solar array, it feeds automatically onto the grid and is distributed throughout the grid. You are credited for this energy at retail or wholesale rates depending on the overall production of your facility and if you take the smart inverter rebate. Read more about net metering at ComEd’s website here and here.

For pricing OR to find out how solar can work for your facility, please contact the CES solar department.