Pivot Energy and Joliet Junior College in Illinois (JJC) have completed and activated the 1.3-megawatt onsite solar system at JJC’s Main Campus. The solar array, with 3,542 solar panels, was installed by national solar developer Pivot Energy and will save the college more than $1.6 million in electricity expenses over 25 years. Over the life of the solar system, it is estimated to produce 61,836,250 kilowatt hours of clean and reliable electricity, enough energy to power more than 5,000 Illinois homes. JCC is expected to offset its total energy consumption by 22.5%, making the campus one of the greenest in the state.
The panels were provided by retired Joliet oncologist Dr. Sarode Pundaleeka with Sunlarge Industries. Over the first 10 years, JJC will pay a reduced rate for the energy generated by the panels, after which they will be donated to the college.
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“JJC has consistently invested in sustainable practices since our first college campus was completed in the early 1970s,” Dr. Judy Mitchell, JJC’s president, said. “Not only are we grateful for Dr. Pundeleeka’s investment in our institution and sustainable values, but we are ready to take this to the next level, supporting renewable energy and building academic and training opportunities around it.”
“Joliet Junior College’s longstanding commitment to sustainability is impressive. Thanks to the gracious Dr. Pundaleeka, the college is able to realize cost-savings from day one without any upfront capital needed to pay for the system, and showcase to its student body what good environmental stewardship looks like,” said Liz Reddington, director of project development at Pivot Energy.
Pundaleeka hopes the solar array will inspire future generations to pursue careers in clean energy and convey the importance of sustainability to all campus visitors.
“It is phenomenal to see this project completed. This gives a very distinct and progressive look to the campus,” Pundaleeka said. “JJC will be in sound economic state without the escalating energy costs.”
Since 2000, JJC has completed over 50 sustainability projects, including opening multiple LEED-certified buildings. In addition to the solar project, a pollinator habitat mixture will be planted around the panels using native grasses and forbs, which will support bee and butterfly habitats and aid in drought and stormwater mitigation.
— Solar Builder magazine