top of page



Sangamon Solar was established in 2015 to aid Illinois in achieving its target of 50% renewable energy by 2040. We are dedicated to developing an attractive, efficient, equitable, and renewable economy in our community. We have partnered with homeowners throughout Central Illinois to provide them with high-quality solar solutions at prices below the market rate.

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. Our top priority is to guarantee that our customers' solar systems are operating at full capacity and backed by a warranty for peace of mind.




Eli founded Sangamon Solar in 2018 in order to help his community take ownership over their energy production, to make going solar simple, and to provide homeowners with an enticing return on investment. Prior to founding Sangamon Solar, Eli worked analyzing renewable energy and waste management technologies used throughout the US Dairy Industry. Eli enjoys hiking, canoeing local rivers, reading, and volunteer at organizations such as the Prairie Rivers Cleanups and Illinois People's Action. 

Elijah Smith, CEO & Founder


Shir Ahmad Popalzai , Project Manager

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. Prior to joining Sangamon Solar, Shir worked  two years in the residential solar space, giving him more than 100+ installations of roof and ground mounted experience. Shir is OSHA 10 and NABCEP PV Certified.


Kristian Hopkins, Solar Consultant

Kristian is a double graduate of the University of Illinois with a Master's in Natural Resources and Environmental Science. His experience working with government bodies, non-profits, political campaigns, and other organizations as well as his connections to the community bring a unique perspective to the company. Kristian enjoys hiking, kayaking, and volunteering at local forest preserves and spending time with his dogs Paulie and Pancake. 


John Krehbiel, Foreman 

John graduated from the University of Illinois in Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences in 2020 with a passion for environmental stewardship. Prior to joining Sangamon Solar, John led a small crew for the US Forest Service in Utah preparing timber sales. John enjoys snowboarding, bicycling, and volunteering as a soccer coach and volunteering at a local kayak outfitter.


Nick joined Sangamon Solar 2023 as a Solar Technician with previous experience working on roofs under an independent contractor. He has contributed to system design and sales in addition to technical services. He plans to go to Parkland College to pursue a degree in computer science. Nick likes reading, walking his dog Charlie, going to the gym, and cooking.

Nick Orndorff, Project Designer

20230608_073439 (1)_edited.jpg

Darrell is a Parkland College graduate with an AAS in 3D Digital Media and a drive toward sustainable energy. He joined in May of 2023 with experience in home improvement and technical assembly. He spends his time crocheting stuffed animals, camping in national forests, and printmaking. 

Darrell Orndorff, Solar Installer

website 16.jpg

Billy Nixon, Journeyman Solar Installer

Billy graduated from the University of Illinois in Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences in 2016. Since then he has had a complementary background of environmental management and protocol development. Using these skills he has managed, advised, and participated in wildlife survey projects throughout Louisiana, Texas, and Illinois. Billy enjoys canoeing, traveling, camping, and reading. 

Hours of Operation


Monday through Friday: 8 am - 5 pm

Saturday: 8 am – 12 pm

Closed Sundays


Office: 217-649-0926

bottom of page