Construction begins on Double Black Diamond Solar in Illinois

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Construction has begun on the Double Black Diamond Solar in Illinois, an 800 MW(dc) utility solar project. The project has been undertaken by Swift Current Energy, a Boston-based developer of solar and wind projects. Additionally, the project aims to compete to be one of the top three largest U.S. solar projects.

By the fall of 2024, the project is expected to be operational and will be the developer’s property. 1.6 million solar panels built in the United States will be supplied for the project by First Solar, while Nextracker will contribute its American-made tracking devices. When Double Black Diamond is running, it will supply more than 85,000 Illinois households with clean energy each year.

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The City of Chicago will be a significant off-take client in conjunction with Constellation Energy. Beginning in 2025, the city will use renewable energy from Double Black Diamond to partially power its major energy users. This includes Chicago O’Hare International Airport and Midway International Airport.

Sangamon and Morgan counties, where the project is located, will receive $100 million in tax revenue from the project. PPG, a manufacturer of paints, coatings, and specialty materials, as well as State Farm Insurance, are additional offtake clients for the substantial project. Furthermore, Constellation will supply State Farm with around 103,000 MWh of sustainable energy per year as part of the insurance company’s ongoing efforts to lessen its environmental impact.

More on the Double Black Diamond solar project

Angela Tovar, chief sustainability officer for Chicago’s Office of Climate and Environmental Equity, said, “As one of Double Black Diamond’s largest end users, the City of Chicago is proud to support a project that will generate solar energy right here in Illinois and will be built according to our shared labor and equity goals.”

McCarthy Building Company has recently been selected by the project’s developer to provide engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) services. The businesses will keep 435 construction workers for the Double Black Diamond project throughout the anticipated 14-month development period.