If you're interested in getting a free solar panel system on the roof of your house, it's lucky to live in Oak Park.
The village has been selected out of a worldwide search for a two-year test program that will install solar panels on 200 buildings in Oak Park between 2013 and through 2014. Residents will be able to keep the solar panels after the test program has concluded, worth $20,000-30,000, the Chicago Tribune reports.
Village trustees signed a letter of intent with the Korean Smart Grid Institutes and the Institute for Sustainable Energy Development earlier in October after a unanimous vote by the board in favor of collaborating on the project.
12-13 three-Kilowatt solar panels will be placed on the roofs of 100 residential and 100 multi-family homes in Oak Park for the program. The solar panels will be connected to Commonwealth Edison's (ComEd) electrical grid.
The backup battery will be able to run electricity in the home even after the sun goes down, or during a power outage. A modem will be used to transmit usage information to a networking center located at Village Hall in Oak Park.
Want Them on Your Home?
Requirements to be considered for solar panels to be placed on your home or building for the project include a south-facing roof that is not obscured by power lines or tree branches and the building must be within two kilometers of a ComEd substation.
Village officials estimate that about two thirds of the village is within that area.
Because the village expects more than 200 applications to be submitted from residents who want to be considered, a lottery system will be used to select who will get to participate.
How to Sign Up:
Unfortunately, it's still going to be awhile before you can throw your hat in the ring for a chance to get the solar panels on your house.
According to K.C. Poulos, sustainability manager in Oak Park, staff is still in the negotiating process, and details on how to accept applications will need to be worked out before an opportunity is available for residents to sign up.
According to Poulos, they've had a lot of interest already.
Here's what Poulos has been sending those to email at this point:
"Thank you for your interest in the exciting Smart City USA project. Village staff is still in the process of working through rather complex negotiations surrounding the proposed collaboration. The program guidelines have not been completed at this stage, nor has the process for offering opportunity for residents to participate in any prospective program been finalized."
At this point, the village is not accepting requests to be placed on a waiting list, or taking names of interested parties. Poulos was also unable to provide an estimate for when exactly they would start.
For the time being, Poulos is directing those who are interested to sign up for the village's newsletter to stay updated on the process. You can sign up by clicking here.
You can also follow this story on Patch by clicking the Keep Me Posted button below this article for updates when new information is available.
Are you thinking of applying to get your home or building enrolled in this program? We want to hear from you! Email the editor at OakPark@patch.com.