WBEZ: Push for Solar Power Comes to Chicago’s Southeast Side

Not long ago in a small storefront on Baltimore Avenue near the Indiana border a handful of folks got
schooled on solar energy.

It was part education, part sales pitch put on by Seth Johnson, policy advocate with the Environmental Law
and Policy Center in Chicago.

“Right now, we see a lot of fluctuation with energy prices. They seem every day to go up and down, up and
down,” Johnson said at the office of the Southeast Environmental Task Force in Chicago’s Hegewisch
neighborhood in late September. “What you do with solar energy is you lock in that price. You make that
upfront investment but then you levelize your cost in the long run.”

Johnson’s been making these types of sales pitches throughout the Chicago area since July.
He’s trying to get people to take advantage of incentives offered by the State of Illinois and the City of
Chicago before the October 10 deadline.

Peggy Salazar is with the Southeast Side Environmental Task Force, which hosted the informational meeting.
Her group is on the front lines of banning companies from storing potentially harmful pet coke nearby.
“We’re the ones that deal with the air emissions from the pet coke being stored. We have the BP refinery that
is just across the border,” Salazar said. “But the emissions from the actual refinery don’t stop at the Indiana
border, they blow toward us.”

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