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Sangamon Solar was established in 2018 to help Illinois use 100% renewable energy by 2050. To better make this goal a reality, we are dedicated to developing attractive, efficient, profitable, and renewable solutions for our community.

Our belief at Sangamon Solar is simple: people should own and pay less for their electricity, whether it's to achieve energy independence or reduce their carbon footprint. 

We strive to make the solar installation process as seamless and enjoyable as possible. Our qualified and dedicated team will ensure that your project is completed on your preferred timeline, at your ideal pace. Your peace of mind is, after safety, our top priority.



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Elijah, or just Eli, founded Sangamon Solar in 2018 so he, and customers throughout Central Illinois, could make money installing Renewable Energy. Over the last 5 years, Sangamon Solar has interconnected more than 71 installations across the state, or 828 kw of solar installed. As of Jan 2024, we are 10 employees strong. We look forward to the year and years ahead thanks to our dedication to quality, improvement, and, first and foremost, our customers.  Solar can be complicated. We've worked to make discussing solar concise and enjoyable; right now and for the next 15 years+ to come. Prior to founding Sangamon Solar, Eli worked researching renewable energy and waste management technologies usable for the US Dairy Industry. Eli enjoys hiking, canoeing the Sangamon River, reading, Spotify, board games, and family time.   

Elijah Smith, CEO & Founder

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Kristian Hopkins, Project Administrator

Kristian is a double graduate of the University of Illinois with a Master's in Natural Resources and Environmental Science. Kristian's value at Sangamon Solar can't be overstated. He ensures you, the customer, get your state incentives back as quickly as possible while managing also to assistt stranded customers who's solar companies have gone out of business. His experience working with government bodies, non-profits, political campaigns, and other organizations as well as his connections to the community bring a highly valued perspective to the company. Kristian enjoys hiking, kayaking, and volunteering at local forest preserves and spending time with his dogs Paulie and Pancake. 

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Shelby Reynolds, Project Coordinator

Shelby has over five years of working within the solar market in Illinois. She has prior experience working for the Illinois Shines (SREC) Program, submitting USDA REAP Grants, completing interconnection and permitting applications, as well as general project coordination. Shelby graduated with an Associates Degree in 2013 with a major in Environmental Sciences. Shelby was married at a nature center in 2021, next to a 50kW ground mounted solar array that she had sold. She is the mother to two boys and loves to sing karaoke.

Brenden is Sangamon Solar's Residential Project Developer and Salesman. With 2+ years experience discussing landscape alterations with home and business owners, Brenden is just the person you want to be discussing the pros and timeline of installing solar. Brenden has studied horticulture at Parkland College and is getting his BS in Business Administration from University of Maryland online. Brenden enjoys playing basketball, soccer, running and hiking. 

Brenden Jewsbury, Project Developer and Salesman

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Shir Ahmad Popalzai , Electrician and Project Manager

Shir is Sangamon Solar's In House  Electrician. Shir was born in Afghanistan and studied Electrical Engineering at Kabul Polytechnic University. Shir worked as an Electrical Quality Assurance Engineer with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Afghanistan from 2014 to 2019. Shir has spent more than 5 years in Solar and has more than 150 roof and ground mounted solar installations. Shir is OSHA 10 and NABCEP PV Certified.


John Krehbiel, Lead Solar Installer and Foreman 

John graduated from the University of Illinois in Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences in 2020 with a passion for environmental stewardship. John's first solar installation was on his parent's house. Since then John's installed more than 30 solar installations at Sangamon Solar. John is OSHA 10 certified and studying to become a NABCEP solar certified installer. John enjoys snowboarding, bicycling, and volunteering as a soccer coach and volunteering at a local kayak outfitter.

Markos Lopez, Journeyman Solar Installer

Markos joined Sangamon Solar in 2023. Markos was born and was raised in Champaign Urbana and graduated from Centennial High School in 2020. Markos is driven, reliable, and a great communicator. Leading a crew is Markos's goal by the end of 2024. Markos enjoys eating well, being outdoors and spending time with his girlfriend and his cat.

Cory Chanthaluxay, Journeyman Solar Installer and Apprentice Electician

As a solar installation enthusiast, Cory is driven by a vision of a greener tomorrow. With hands-on experience in transforming sunlight into electricity, Cory specializes in seamless solar solutions. From meticulous system design to precise installation, his commitment to sustainability shines through every project. Cory is dedicated to empowering individuals and businesses to embrace clean energy, fostering a brighter and eco-friendly future. "Let's embark on a solar journey together, making a positive impact on the planet one installation at a time."

Lavandess Nolan, Journeyman Solar Installer

Lavandess, also known as  LA, joined Sangamon Solar in 2023. LA's first solar installations were participants in the 2023 Urbana Champaign Group Buy, and the pleasure to give back to his community has been one of the most gratifying parts of working in solar. LA has 9 children and loves being outdoors.

Levi Applegate, Journeyman Solar Installer

Levi joined Sangamon Solar in 2023. Originally from the area, but most recently living in Arkansas, Levi has quickly become an independent and reliable solar installer. Levi loves mudding, fishing and camping, but most of all, spending time with his daughter. 

Hours of Operation


Sangamon Solar

206 N Randolph Street (HQ Level 2) 

Champaign, IL 61820

Monday through Friday: 8 am - 5 pm

Saturday: 8 am – 12 pm

Closed Sundays


Office: 217-649-0926

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