Gov. Pritzker Joins ComEd to Present G&W Electric with Record Rebate for Innovative Microgrid

To date, $130 million in rebates have been distributed through ComEd’s distributed generation rebate program.

CHICAGO (April 15, 2024)  Illinois Governor JB Pritzker today joined ComEd to present G&W Electric of Bolingbrook, Ill., with a record high Distributed Generation (DG) Rebate of $2.6 million for the construction of a massive solar-plus-storage project at its global headquarters and manufacturing center southwest of Chicago. Created by the Future Energy Jobs Act in 2017 and expanded by the Illinois Climate and Equitable Jobs Act in 2021, ComEd’s DG Rebate program has awarded $130 million in rebates since inception. It is available to commercial, industrial, and residential customers that install an eligible distributed electric renewable generation system. Distributed generation refers to a variety of technologies that generate electricity at or near where it will be used.

“Since I became Governor, I’ve been focused on propelling Illinois forward into a clean energy future — ushering in a new era of environmental justice and sustainability for every community,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “That’s why, in 2021, I worked with the General Assembly and signed the landmark Climate and Equitable Jobs Act — solidifying Illinois’ status as the first state in the Midwest to commit to 100% clean energy by 2050. In addition to investing over $80 million annually to develop a renewable energy workforce, this nation-leading legislation has so far created nearly 9,800 megawatts of new solar capacity and increased funding for the Distributed Generation Rebate Program. CEJA paved the way for companies to join the fight against climate change by investing in solar power projects just like this one. Congratulations to the ComEd and G&W Electric teams!”

G&W Electric, a 119-year-old manufacturer of medium and high voltage power equipment, received a DG Rebate of $600,000 for its investments in rooftop solar and a rebate of $2 million for a battery energy storage system. The solar and battery storage- the largest such installation in a commercial and industrial setting in Illinois – support G&W Electric’s microgrid, a small power grid that can operate connected to, or independently from, the ComEd electric grid to meet demand within a defined electrical boundary. The microgrid’s priority is to enhance the resiliency of the G&W Electric’s power system, while reducing its energy costs and carbon emissions. It can also provide backup power in the event of an interruption to the grid.     

“G&W Electric is demonstrating its well-earned reputation for industry leadership, innovation, and commitment to customers through the creation of its microgrid,” said Gil Quiniones, CEO, ComEd. “Driving innovation through the deployment of renewable energy solutions is a high priority for the state of Illinois and ComEd, and it’s on full display at G&W Electric.”

G&W Electric also benefits from participating in ComEd’s Distributed Energy Resources Management System (DERMS) by expanding the circumstances during which their solar and battery will be able to operate while connected to ComEd’s system. The DERMS alleviates impacts of excess Distributed Energy Resources (DERs) to electric distribution system power quality; and enables G&W Electric to deepen its knowledge on how to integrate its microgrid with external partners and controls.

G&W Electric’s microgrid project began in August of 2021, transforming the roof at the company’s Bolingbrook headquarters into one of North America’s largest rooftop solar systems. With nearly 6,000 bi-facial solar panels installed, the grid covers more than 370,000 square feet,  the equivalent of nearly eight football fields. Their first call to kick off the project was to ComEd.

“Setting the record for ComEd’s DG rebate program is particularly rewarding to us at G&W Electric as our company was founded by two ComEd Engineers — Harry Gear and Paul Williams,” said John Mueller, chairman, and owner of G&W Electric. “True to their vision, we set out to build a state-of-the-art microgrid that would ensure reliable and resilient energy for our mission-critical operations and bring us closer to our carbon neutral goals. Our partnership with ComEd, and their proactive involvement and guidance from the start, has been a critical component of the microgrid project’s success.”

The microgrid serves as an integral part of G&W Electric’s innovation strategy to explore and test methods that support decentralization and decarbonization today. The DG rebate will be used to offset the significant investment in the microgrid’s design, deployment, and ongoing maintenance, said Mueller.

G&W Electric’s microgrid became partially operational  in November 2022 and  fully operational by the end of 2023,  resulting in numerous benefits: creating cost savings and revenue generation, improving uptime to maximize productivity, and reducing the company’s carbon footprint toward carbon neutral goals. The microgrid also has enabled the company to avoid 1,504 tons of greenhouse gas emissions, prevented outages and produced more than 3.6 gigawatt hours of energy.  

ComEd estimates that solar power on its grid, including rooftop and community solar systems, will grow from about 900 megawatts today (MWs) to 2,700 MWs by 2030. In 2023, ComEd completed more than 14,900 solar systems, including commercial and industrial customers, residential projects, and community solar farms. In 2023, ComEd received a record-high 20,253 applications from residential, commercial, and industrial customers to connect solar panels and other distributed energy resources to ComEd’s grid.