Solar, Utility Integration

Illinois School Gains Ground-Mounted Solar Project

The Reagan Middle School, located in the town where the late President grew up, is home to a new 51.2 kW solar photovoltaic (PV) system, the largest ground-mounted system for an elementary-middle school in the State of Illinois.

Installed by Spire Corporation, the system furthers the role of solar electricity in an educational environment where they will be used for teaching children and parents the value of clean energy sources, and expands to over 10 the number of PV systems that Spire Solar Chicago has commissioned on schools in Illinois. The system should provide the equivalent annual electricity used by 7-10 Illinois homes. “Dixon is proud to be on the front end of a renewable energy solution”, said David Blackburn, Business Manager of Dixon Public Schools District 170, “We feel we are very lucky to have had the opportunity to be part of a solar installation of this size and the staff and students can’t wait to begin to discuss renewable energy as part of their science component.” Spire provided the system in cooperation with architectural firm Green Associates of Deerfield, Illinois. Funding for the system came from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation and ComEd. Spire Solar Chicago manufactures custom modules at the Chicago Center for Green Technology. To date, over 70 PV systems by Spire Solar Chicago are online for an installed capacity of over 1,200 kW (1.2 MW). This is equivalent to supplying power for nearly 200 homes. Spire Solar also provides Building Integrated Photovoltaics (BIPV), a product application that is gaining attention and growing in popularity, and can help decrease the cost of adding solar Photovoltaic panels to a project by offsetting against the cost of the building material it replaces.