Spire Sites Solar on Three Museums in Chicago

Spire Solar Chicago has installed 50 kilowatt solar PV systems on the roofs of three major Chicago museums.

CHICAGO, Illinois, US, 2001-10-15 [SolarAccess.com] The solar electric systems on the Art Institute of Chicago, the Mexican Fine Arts Center Museum and the Chicago Historical Society total 150 kilowatts of capacity, which will generate 180 megawatt-hours aa year of electricity, enough power for 30 homes. Each installed kilowatt reduces pollution by one ton of carbon dioxide a year, eight pounds of nitrogen oxides and 16 pounds of sulfur dioxides. Together with the 49 kW Field Museum of Natural History PV system, completed by Spire Solar Chicago in June, these installations are the largest solar projects in Illinois. “What better way to demonstrate solar power’s potential to Chicagoans and visitors than by installing it on our world-class educational and cultural institutions,” says the city’s environment commissioner William Abolt. The three systems are part of a multi-year, multi-site program of solar installations that Spire is completing in cooperation with the City of Chicago, the Commonwealth Edison utility, and the Illinois Department of Commerce & Community Affairs. The projects are a key part of Chicago’s high-profile commitment to clean energy. “Our goal is to use installations at the museums and the Chicago Historical Society as a teaching tool and to raise awareness of renewable energy technologies,” adds Mary O’Toole of ComEd. “ComEd’s long term goal, through our sustained support, is to make PV a more viable technology choice in the market.” The Art Institute of Chicago is one of the major museums in the United States, housing 300,000 works of art. The Mexican Fine Arts Center Museum is the country’s largest Latino cultural institution and the only Latino museum accredited by the American Association of Museums. The Chicago Historical Society is a privately endowed institution that is devoted to the multicultural history of the City and Illinois. The Solar Museum project will also include the DuSable Museum of African American History and the Museum of Science & Industry, both scheduled for completion by early next year. Spire has installed systems on the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, the Field Museum, the ComEd North Regional Headquarters, four elementary schools, and two private residences on the northwest side of Chicago. “We are pleased to bring green power to Chicago, a city that is setting an example for the rest of the nation in its commitment to renewable energy,” says Roger Little, President and CEO of Spire. “In addition to the environmental benefits, expanding the nation’s renewable energy resources enhances national security.” The company has installed PV systems in Chicago that have 300 kW of solar capacity, representing one of the largest concentrations of photovoltaics outside of the Sunbelt. The peaks in electricity demand in Chicago occur on sunny summer days, and the rooftop modules reduce the need for high-emissions fuels during those periods. “Capturing energy from the sun will play a vital role in meeting our future energy needs,” says Pam McDonough of DCCA. “Through this unique partnership, Illinois has become a leader in demonstrating solar power systems as a source of clean, renewable energy.” Financial support for the installations came from the state, ComEd and the city, and the utility will also provide interconnection under its Wind & Photovoltaic Generation Pricing Experiment. The program reimburses customers who install wind turbines or PV systems for excess power that flows back to ComEd. Spire provides solar electric systems for distributed power generation, while Spire Solar Chicago is a PV manufacturing business established in cooperation with BP Solar.
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