Solar energy services company hopes to bring ‘hundreds’ of jobs to new Greater Peoria branch

A national solar energy company aims to bring hundreds of permanent jobs to the Peoria area in the next few years.

Sunrun, which markets itself as a leading provider of residential solar power, battery storage and energy services, held a groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday for its new branch on High Point Lane, along the Interstate 74 corridor in East Peoria.

Nakhia Crossley, senior public policy manager for Sunrun, said expanding into the Peoria market reinforces its commitment to bringing green energy careers to the state while expanding access to solar power to more central Illinois homes.

“We came to Illinois in 2017 and have invested heavily since then,” said Crossley, noting that Sunrun’s workforce in the state has expanded to more than 500 employees at its Des Plaines and Bolingbrook locations in just four years.

“We hope to see projections that more or less align with that,” he said. “Over time, we will have hundreds of new employees here ranging from installers, permitting technicians, licensing technicians, project managers, engineers. We will have a large number of employees here who will help us serve the customer base.”

Among a host of elected officials in attendance at the ceremony were East Peoria Mayor John Kahl, Peoria Mayor Rita Ali and State Representative Jehan-Gordon Booth, who credited the Fair Employment Act and (CEJA) of the state approved last year for paving the way for the expansion of Sunrun.

“We’re honored to have Sunrun operating in our region, to do some of the work that we know is so important to really continue to position Illinois as a leader in this clean energy jobs space,” he said. “We know that these are jobs for the future. We know these jobs aren’t going away anytime soon, and having Illinois lead in that space is something that, frankly, we can all be incredibly proud of.”

Ali said the arrival of Sunrun represents a major economic boost for Greater Peoria while emphasizing a healthier environment.

“This is a real opportunity for our region in terms of putting people to work and jobs that pay wages that support families,” he said. “Illinois is the national leader in solar now and it’s going to increase. So to have it right here in our region and to have a company serving customers within our region is extraordinary.”

Kahl said making solar power more accessible to Central Illinois homeowners is a positive step.

“You look at energy costs today, you see where everything is going in the direction of clean and renewable energy, and here is one more opportunity for people to take advantage of what they offer,” he said.

Sunrun company representatives and elected officials participate in a groundbreaking ceremony for the solar power service provider’s new East Peoria branch on Wednesday.

“It’s a great day for Central Illinois; This isn’t just about East Peoria. The exciting part was talking to the employees who have this opportunity here and how important it is,” Kahl said. “Any time you get a new business to come in, that’s a big deal. But a business model like this, we don’t have any of that here.”

Although the outside temperature was a bit chilly, the cascading sunlight underscored the intended impact of the new branch.

“The cost of living has gone up because of oil, gas, natural gas and coal, and the cost of sunlight, as you’ll see today, is the same as it’s always been: zero,” said Markus Pitchford, director of the region. headquarters of the Solar Energy Industries Association. “This will allow families to reduce energy costs and also reduce pollution at the same time.

“Moving to solar power allows families and businesses to take control of their cost of living. It will also add $1 billion over the next 10 years here in Illinois. We have more than 18,000 renewable energy jobs today, and the number is growing.”

Crossley admitted that CEJA legislation played a significant role in Sunrun’s decision to expand into the Peoria market.

“The Fair Work and Climate Act was a great effort by so many members of the Illinois General Assembly, solar and wind advocates, renewable energy advocates, environmental advocates,” Crossley said. “Illinois has invested heavily in reaching a climate goal of zero carbon (emissions) by 2050, so they are on the right track.”

State Senator Dave Koehler echoed CEJA’s importance in fostering growth among green energy companies.

“First of all, climate change is real, and second of all, solar power is real, and we see there is an expansion of solar power in Illinois just because of the incentives that we passed with the CEJA bill,” Koehler said. After the ceremony. “So this is just part of it, and having a company like Sunrun come here to set up shop and hire people and go out and sell solar to people is just part of the plan. We are very excited that they are here.”

Kyle Barber, the solar program instructor for Illinois Central College, said having Sunrun in the region also opens up more local opportunities for his students.

“It also brings a good association with the training that we’re providing to people looking to hire,” Barber said. “When I started teaching the program five years ago, there weren’t a lot of jobs here in central Illinois for my graduates. We brought the class here today so you can see firsthand what the transition looks like. We are excited about the opportunities this brings.”

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