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Screenings begin for Smart City USA participants

April 25, 2014 - Oak Park residential property owners who want to be considered when the Village facilitates the launch of a smart-grid pilot project are invited to fill out a brief online form posted at

As many as 200 homes may be chosen to participate in the Oak Park Smart City USA Project that will test and demonstrate the latest in smart grid technologies, including solar power and energy storage. Owners of multifamily buildings also can apply.

The Korea Smart Grid Institute (KSGI), one of several organizations that partnered with the Village in 2010 to evaluate the latest smart-grid technology and implementation approaches, is preparing to begin choosing sites in the Village for a demonstration project.

The online form is the initial step to find participants whose properties may meet the criteria for consideration. Submitting information online will not guarantee selection, officials say, since additional, more in-depth screening will be necessary to identify qualifying properties.

Among the initial criteria for consideration are factors such property ownership, having a surface facing south or west with direct sunlight and an electrical service with circuit breakers.

Participants also must have a high-speed internet connection and be willing to share their home energy data with the project team members for three years. In addition to the Village and KSGI, the project team likely will include partnerships with educational and research institutions interested in smart grid technology and residential electrical usage.

“The Smart City USA Project offers Oak Park property owners a unique and exciting opportunity to become innovators in community wide electrical efficiency, while providing proof of the commercial viability of various advanced monitoring and energy management technologies,” said Assistant Village Manager Robert Cole who currently is managing the local aspects of the project.

Cole said the project will entail installing equipment such as solar panels with batteries that would allow residences to collect and store energy for personal use and to sell back to the grid during peak times. Property owners would not have to pay any equipment or installation costs. KSGI and state grants will fund the project.

ComEd’s deployment of smart meters throughout Oak Park and surrounding communities attracted the attention of the smart grid industry because of the potential to apply technologies that would increase local reliability and incorporate distributed generation such as solar panels.

Since discussions on a smart-grid project first began here in 2010, the Village has hosted three delegations of KSGI officials who toured Oak Park’s neighborhoods. KSGI chose Oak Park for the pilot program in 2012.

No firm date has been set to finalize the property selection. However, officials say equipment installations could begin this year, with the full implementation in 2015.

For more information on the project, email