Solar Energy for Long Term Financial Stability

In a fitting arrangement, the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA), whose major purpose is to provide long term financial support for retirees, is taking advantage of solar energy which also provides it’s own form of long term stability.

The SSA is contracting with ComEd to complete downtown Chicago’s largest solar energy installation and one of the largest in the Midwest. By August, new solar panels serving the SSA building at 600 W. Madison will produce up to 82 kW of electricity — enough energy to power 50 average homes. The project will also provide are more stable and secure long term price for the building’s energy needs — a idea the folks at the SSA know something about. “The Social Security Administration is proud to be a leader in the country’s movement toward renewable and green energy use,” said James F. Martin, Regional Commissioner for the SSA. “This is in line with President Bush’s commitment to have the Federal Government be a role model in leading the nation to energy efficient building design, construction and operation,” ComEd is providing its technical and environmental expertise to cover 7,920 square feet of the SSA building’s roof space with photovoltaic (PV) modules, comprised of Sanyo HIT cells. These PV modules convert 18.5 percent of the solar energy to electrical energy. ComEd also is using a specially designed PV tile system that offers roof shading and protection from ultraviolet rays, while providing thermal energy savings in winter. This initiative will produce significant environmental savings for the SSA and enhance air quality in Chicago contributing to resource conservation nationwide. Based on U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates, the system will displace more than four million pounds of the primary greenhouse gas CO(2) over its 30-year design life. This is equivalent to the CO(2) absorbed by 20 acres of trees. The system also will save the equivalent of almost 6,000 barrels of oil. For many years, ComEd has partnered with government, civic, and educational institutions to help install nearly two MW of solar power in Chicago, best among all cities outside the Sun Belt. As part of the ongoing partnership with the City of Chicago, Chicago Public Schools (CPS) facilities are being developed to meet Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) requirements for green certification. ComEd is currently commissioning four new CPS schools to achieve LEED certification, and is also helping CPS reduce energy by installing new building energy management systems.
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