Belle Valley School Received Illinois Shines Award for Solar

Belle Valley School Solar Array

Belle Valley School Received Illinois Shines Award for Solar

Novel Energy Solutions, a fast-growing solar energy firm serving the greater Midwest, is proud to announce one of its biggest projects to date in the emerging Illinois solar market, assisting a school district in its goal to minimize our collective carbon footprint.

Belle Valley School, part of the Belleville, Illinois school district in southwestern Illinois, enlisted Novel to install 3,528 solar panels on roughly seven acres of unused land in late 2020, after receiving an Illinois Shines award. The IL Shines program was created to encourage solar installations across IL.

The one-megawatt array plot, which is co-owned by Novel and REA Investments, LLC, has the capacity to generate roughly 2.128 million kilowatt hours (kWh) of energy per year – saving the district tens of thousands of dollars each year in utility costs. The project went live in late January 2021 and is currently filling much of the school’s electrical needs.
After working with primarily private clients across the Midwest for nearly a decade, Novel’s senior land and title specialist Tom Dickson said Belle Valley Superintendent R. Dane Gale was “incredibly supportive,” and the publicly-approved project went as smoothly as possible.

“Personally, this was a very rewarding project for me,” says Dickson. “I loved working with the school district, and helping them find a great use for land that was previously sitting empty.”

Dickson said the project will act as a blueprint for future projects, as more schools seek out solar solutions and Novel naturally expands into additional markets. As the students grow with the solar array, he hopes the district can use the project for more than just energy.

“It’s incredibly beneficial for the school,” Dickson added. “They can save on their energy bill, it’s better for the environment, it creates jobs, and it’s great for the students. Solar [energy]’s only going to become more popular moving forward, so to have that project in their backyard, that they can see every day… I hope students will get inspired.”

Novel Energy Solutions is a family-owned, Minnesota-based solar energy company, helping customers enjoy the savings and benefits of solar – whether they want it for their home, farm, business, as well as for non-profits, religious organizations, and government entities. We provide our customers with the opportunity to join one of our off-site community solar gardens, or to install full-scale solar arrays of their own.

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