News | April 11, 2018

Cat Dealer Altorfer Installs Solar Solution In St. Charles, Ill.

Project is second solar facility that supplies clean power to Illinois Municipal Electric Agency by leveraging Caterpillar technology, dealer expertise

Caterpillar Inc. recently announced that Cat dealer Altorfer has commissioned a 500-kW solar photovoltaic (PV) utility-scale demonstration project in St. Charles, Ill., as part of a 20-year power purchase agreement with the Illinois Municipal Electric Agency (IMEA). Featuring more than 4,800 Cat solar panels, the 2.3-acre facility is located in the Legacy Business Center adjacent to the East Side Sports Complex in a western suburb of Chicago.

Caterpillar supplied the thin-film solar panels, inverters, controllers, and monitoring systems, while Altorfer Power Systems was responsible for installation, maintenance, and operation.

“We are very excited about this development and the prospect of deploying this environmentally responsible power generation facility,” said Tom Bruhl, Electric Services Manager for the City of St. Charles. “It is a real signature project for our utility, the City of St. Charles, and IMEA.”

This is the second agreement between Altorfer and IMEA that utilizes solar PV power to help diversify the authority’s power generation capabilities. Altorfer Power Systems has commissioned a 1,000-kW solar PV facility in Rantoul, Ill., which produced 1.65 million kilowatt-hours of electricity in 2017.

“High-performing PV panels and decreasing capital costs are making solar power an increasingly affordable and attractive option for forward-looking municipalities that are looking to diversify their portfolios with clean, sustainable sources of power,” said Tom Schmit, sales manager for Altorfer Power Systems. “IMEA and the City of St. Charles have clearly demonstrated their leadership and foresight as pioneers in municipal power generation through their growing support of solar technologies.”

The Cat Hybrid Energy Solutions suite is an innovative lineup of power systems that adds environmentally friendly solar panels, state-of-the-art energy conversion and storage technologies, and advanced monitoring and control systems to Caterpillar’s traditional line of reliable power generation equipment, which includes HFO, natural gas and diesel generator sets, switchgear and automatic transfer switches. The Cat Hybrid Energy Solutions technology suite is designed to reduce fuel expenses, lower utility bills, decrease emissions, and reduce the total cost of ownership while increasing energy efficiency in even the most challenging environments.

The Cat Master Microgrid Controller (MMC) keeps loads continuously energized with high-quality power at the lowest cost. It manages the flow of power from every source in the system, including the main grid when connected. The Cat MMC determines optimum recharge times for the energy storage systems while managing power during times when solar energy is not available.

Cat Connect Remote Asset Monitoring offers real-time collection and remote monitoring of site performance data in Cat Microgrid applications. Providing data, visualization, reporting, and alerts from anywhere in the world through an easy-to-use web interface, this technology helps operators and Cat dealers track and manage the operation of the system, confirm desired cost savings, flag potential problems, perform remote troubleshooting, offer long-term archives of site performance history, and identify opportunities for further operational or system enhancement.

The Cat Bi-Directional Power (BDP) converter uses a world-class insulated gate bipolar transistor (IGBT) to seamlessly control the charge and discharge of energy storage options, which can range from traditional lead-acid batteries to lithium-ion applications and ultracapacitors.

“The facility in St. Charles, Ill., illustrates Caterpillar’s growing impact in the market for solar power solutions,” said Rob Schueffner, microgrid and renewables commercial manager for Caterpillar’s Electric Power Division. “By combining our technologically advanced solar solutions with the expertise and responsiveness of the Cat dealer network, we can offer a robust solar offering that delivers the same performance and reliability that customers have relied on from our traditional power generation lineup.”

Caterpillar is a leader in the power generation marketplace with power systems engineered to deliver unmatched durability, reliability and value. The company offers worldwide product support, with parts and service available globally through the Cat authorized service and dealer network. In addition, dealer service technicians are trained to service every aspect of Cat equipment.

For more information, visit or e-mail To interact with other power generation professionals in our online community, register at

About the Illinois Municipal Electric Agency (IMEA)
The Illinois Municipal Electric Agency (IMEA) is a not-for-profit unit of local government created in 1984 that is currently comprised of 32 municipal electric systems from all across Illinois. Each of those communities owns and operates its own electric distribution system, and some operate local power generation plants. The IMEA’s focus is the reliable delivery of bulk power and energy to its members at low and stable prices. IMEA combines the power needs of all of its members and secures the electricity necessary to satisfy those needs. The agency sells its members all their wholesale power needs under long-term power supply contracts. To accomplish this goal, IMEA has assembled a portfolio of power supply ownership and long-term purchase power agreements.

The IMEA backs its commitment to power supply excellence with a 24-hour-a-day, seven days-a-week operations center staffed by highly skilled power supply professionals. In addition, IMEA provides engineering, legal, communications, economic development, legislative and regulatory oversight services and an energy efficiency program for its members. For more information, visit

About Altorfer Inc.
Since 1957, Altorfer Inc. has served the construction, agriculture, landscaping and trades, manufacturing, material handling, rental, mining, governmental, trucking and power generation industries.

For more information, visit

About Caterpillar
For more than 90 years, Caterpillar Inc. has been making sustainable progress possible and driving positive change on every continent. Customers turn to Caterpillar to help them develop infrastructure, energy and natural resource assets. With 2017 sales and revenues of $45.462B, Caterpillar is the world’s leading manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, industrial gas turbines and diesel-electric locomotives. The company principally operates through its three primary segments - Construction Industries, Resource Industries and Energy & Transportation - and also provides financing and related services through its Financial Products segment. For more information, visit

Source: Caterpillar Inc.