Aug
06

Nation’s Largest Solar Power Plant is in Our Backyard

August 06, 2010

Quiz: What city houses the largest solar power plant in the United States?

Answer: Chicago!

You knew I was going to say that, didn’t you?

Exelon City Solar, which was built on 41 acres of land that had sat vacant for more than 30 years, is located at 1201 W. 120th Street in Chicago’s West Pullman neighborhood.

During construction, Exelon removed pollutants in the area and beautified the property with sustainable landscaping.

Approximately 200 jobs were generated to construct the $60 million power plant, some of them permanent, and much of the labor and building materials for the project came from local companies on Chicago’s South Side.

Exelon is leasing the brownfield property from Chicago, which means it will generate rent and real estate taxes for the city. Mayor Richard Daley was among the officials at the dedication of the plant on July 21.

“We are strongly committed to investing in green businesses and industries, because clean energy and green technology will be a major part of the new economy that emerges from the current recession,” said Daley. “Our challenge now is to seize the future and the opportunities it offers.”

Some of Exelon City Solar’s highlights:

*The plant’s 32,292 solar photovoltaic (PV) panels create enough electricity to power up to 1,500 homes a year.

*The clean and reliable energy the plant creates displaces more than 30 million pounds of greenhouse gas emissions each year. That is the equivalent of taking more than 2,500 cars off the road.

*The plant works by capturing the sun’s rays and converting them into 14,000 megawatt-hours of electricity per year.

*A SunPower solar tracking system tilts the panels toward the sun as it moves, which increases energy production by up to 25 percent.

To give back to the community, SunPower is going to install up to five solar systems on rooftops of local non-profit groups and/or low-income housing facilities.

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Tracey

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