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Illinois Solar Tour - Northern Sites




Arlington Heights

Paul and Diane Culhane

Link to Video

System: 11 roof-mounted panels

Annual Production: 4505kWh

Why I went solar: It has always been of interest to us.

Arlington Heights


Kevin Ford

System: 19 roof-mounted panels, EV

Annual Production: 6790kWh

Why I went solar: Buying Chevy Volt and commuting all electric was great. But commuting all solar electric is even better!

Aurora


Brian Gravenhorst

System: 32 roof-mounted panels

Annual Production: 10MWh

Why I went solar: The cost of electricity will never go down. I wanted to do my part to be green and help the environment.

Aurora


Cheryl Clayton

System: 114 roof-mounted panels, EV

Annual Production: 6820kWh

Why I went solar: We believe that whatever ways we can comfortably use in order to mitigate the effects of climate change must be enabled by us. The state of Illinois made much of this possible by purchasing SRECs from us after we had the panels for about two years. We also use solar energy to power our 2021 Tesla and we have owned 3 other hybrid automobiles.

Batavia

Bob Flora

System: 74 roof-mounted panels, EV, heat pump

Annual Production: 23MWh

Why I went solar: We heat our house, heat our water, cook our food, and drive our cars with electricity, so why not use nuclear energy directly from the sun?

Big Rock


Andrew Parker

System: 51 roof-mounted panels

Annual Production: 15MWh

Why I went solar: The power in our area goes out a lot. This system was designed to help reduce our energy costs and provide a backup power supply.

Brookfield

Compassion United Methodist Church

Recording from 9/26/20 Live Zoom Tour

Link to Video

System: 50 roof-mounted panels

Annual Production: 15MWh

Why I went solar: We believe every house of worship has a moral responsibility to get as much of its energy as possible from renewable energy - solar and wind. When our congregation bought and remodeled an old dry cleaner building as an art gallery/studio and worship space, we were thrilled to be able to donate a PV system that produces, so far, 100% of its electricity.

Buffalo Grove

Jeff Slepak

Link to Video

System: 27 roof-mounted panels, EV

Annual Production: 10.76MWh

Why I went solar: To lower our carbon footprint on the planet. The fact that we've paid $0 in electricity usage since the system started up has been great, too! Our home is fortunate to have the best azimuth. Though we have many trees in the back yard, we get full sun on the 27 panels in the summer with no tree shade; in the winter, when the sun is lower, the trees have no leaves, and we get plenty of sun then, too. 

Buffalo Grove


Mark Tomkiel

System: 31 roof-mounted panels, EV

Annual Production: 11MWh

Why I went solar: It's financially feasible - there's a 5 year break even on a system warranted for 25 years. We like using renewable energy to power our home and an electric car.

Bull Valley


Bruce Killips

System: 20 roof-mounted panels, 7 solar thermal collectors, passive solar, geothermal

Annual Production: 5290kWh

Why I went solar: To reduce carbon emissions and to aid the grid in power production.

Carol Stream

Wendy Vernon

Recording from 9/26/20 Live Zoom Tour

Link to Video

System: 19 roof-mounted panels, backup battery, EV

Annual Production: 7829kWh

Why I went solar: We installed solar because we wanted to help the environment with clean, renewable energy and also wanted to save money on our electric bills. We also installed a battery backup because we wanted some off grid capability in case of a power outage. We felt like the time was right to install solar because of the availability of the federal and state tax incentives.

Cary

James Chen

Link to Video

System: 36 roof-mounted panels

Annual Production: 14MWh

Why I went solar: It is the right thing to do for the environment while making sense financially.

Crystal Lake


McHenry County College

System: 4 panels mounted on a pole

Annual Production: To early to tell!

Why I went solar: Designed to power one of our high tunnels and to show our students and the community options for extending the growing season in areas without access to electricity.

Deer Park

Peter Gorr

Recording from 9/26/20 Live Zoom Tour

Link to Video

System: 21 roof-mounted panels

Annual Production: 8600kWh

Why I went solar: This is my second home with a solar PV system. The benefits of pollution free energy, energy independence, and financial gain are just too great to ignore. Over 8 years of data speak for itself.

Earlville


Richard Jones

System: 60 ground-mounted panels, backup batteries, EVs,  geothermal HVAC

Annual Production: 24MWh

Why I went solar: To become energy independent & reduce my carbon footprint. Rid myself from the constant fluctuating gas & oil prices.

Elizabeth

Joe Ambrosia

Link to Video

System: 24 ground-mounted panels

Annual Production: 11.23MWh

Why I went solar: It was both ecologically and financially feasible. I figured a 4 year break-even based on electricity rates along with tax and financial incentives at the time, not accounting for the increases we have seen since then. Also, photovoltaic is a proven technology. The process of installing solar panels was simple. Our installer handled all of the permits, site recommendations, energy assessments and installation.

Elizabeth


Robert Dittmar

System: 22 ground-mounted panels

Annual Production: 9400kWh

Why I went solar: To lower my electric bill, and it's good for the environment.

Elizabeth


Robert Dittmar Agency - Country Financial

System: 22 roof-mounted panels

Annual Production: 8000kWh

Why I went solar: To lower my electric bill, and it's good for the environment.

Elmhurst

Sid Chhabra

Link to Video

System: 14 panels, backup battery

Annual Production: 4349kWh

Why I went solar: I have been fascinated by the potential of solar power as a clean energy source for a while. This resulted in the DIY project for solar charged battery backup system. Success of that project, coupled with the federal and state incentives for solar, made it a very easy decision to build the larger grid tied system.

Evanston


Jeff Balch

Link to Video

System: 21 roof-mounted panels

Annual Production: 10MWh

Why I went solar: We bought the house in 1997 partly because the rooftop solar thermal (hot water) panels caught our eye. Our two kids took their first baths in sustainably heated water, first steps in sustainably heated rooms, and grew with the knowledge that their home is warmed by love but also by friendly technology. This year, after a hailstorm forced re-roofing, and with the encouragement of the original installer, we replaced the solar thermals with PVs. But we didn’t landfill the 35-year-old thermals: they shrugged off the hail and went to a neighbor’s house.

Evanston

Chuck Carrington

Link to Video

System: 26 roof-mounted PV panels, 2 Thermal collectors with 80 gal tank

Annual Production: 10.83MWh

Why I went solar: For the health of our planet and for future generations. I have long thought it important to do what we can to reduce the use of fossil fuels. My old house had a few thermal panels, but it was too shaded for PV. By the time I bought my present home, I realized that solar PV is a good investment financially also.

Evanston


Michael Moran

Link to Video

System: 2 solar thermal collectors with 80 gal storage tank

Why I went solar: I saw the opportunity to save energy and money when we did a second-floor addition and could add solar thermal panels to our roof. The economics convinced me there was no reason not to do it. And solar-heated showers feel better!

Forest Park

Rob Sall

System: 30 roof-mounted panels, backup batteries

Annual Production: 8390kWh

Why I went solar: We care deeply about the environment and the species we are pushing to extinction every day. We wanted to cement our future in sustainable options while locking in a long term affordable future with solar. We also installed Tesla batteries as a backup system for the house, so as not to need a generator (and to use solar even when grid is down).

Frankfort


Ray Stadt

System: 20 roof-mounted panels

Annual Production: 7800kWh

Why I went solar: Wanted to reduce our carbon footprint, as well as install early (2015) to help boost the technology and its visibility in our community.

Galena


Michael F. Koeller

System: 26 ground-mounted panels, geothermal

Annual Production: 9000kWh

Why I went solar: First was the geothermal system because it made a lot of sense both for heating and cooling. The solar array interested me especially after seeing and talking to a business owner in Denali, Alaska where their solar efforts saved so much their generator had become very inefficient to the point they were planning to replace it with a smaller unit. I then attended a meeting in Elizabeth, IL where I received more information for a local installation before deciding to go ahead with it.

Glen Ellyn


Richard Whitney

Link to Video

System: 16 roof-mounted panels

Annual Production: 4000kWh

Why I went solar: Concerned about climate change, we made a philosophical choice to live our values and reduce our carbon footprint. I did not believe in 2010 that PV would be purely justifiable on a cost-benefit basis, but felt that everyone must do what they can to reduce their impact on the earth. As it turned out, the move to solar has paid for itself, not even counting any additional increase in home value.

Grayslake


College of Lake County

Link to Video

System:

CLC just installed a 1.9 MW Solar PV system in 2021, which includes both rooftop and ground-mount systems. The college has solar thermal collectors on 8 different buildings. There are two closed-loop geothermal systems, totaling over 120 wells running 500 ft deep each.

Why I went solar: The College of Lake County is a leader in sustainability. Hosting solar PV, solar thermal, and geothermal heat exchange systems not only saves the college operational costs, but provides demonstrations of energy innovation for students and the community, renewable resources to be tapped for a more sustainable future.

Highland Park

Jay Futterman

Recording from 9/26/20 Live Zoom Tour

Link to Video

System: 25 roof-mounted panels, EV, heat pump water heater

Annual Production: 7400kWh

Why I went solar: I am very concerned about climate change. One of the major contributors to this is coal, and I can see train cars full of coal passing through my town. Rather than just getting mad about this, I decided to do something about my own personal contributions to this disaster and power my house and car with the sun. While I unfortunately won't be available to speak with anyone on September 25th, I'm happy to talk or email with interested folks any other time!

LibertyVille


Becky and Steve Sawle

System: 32 roof-mounted panels, EVs

Annual Production: 12MWh

Why I went solar: Reducing carbon emissions from power generation is critical for slowing climate change. This is a painless way to eliminate our demand (we are at net-zero for the year) including charging two EV's (Tesla and Volvo plug-in hybrid). It also reduces our electric bill to $14.50 per month (delivery charge only).

McHenry


Bill and Dori Schmitz

System: 32 roof-mounted panels

Annual Production: 12.6MWh

Why I went solar: Having both worked at GRNE Solar, we saw the benefits that our customers were realizing. We wanted to do our part for the environment while at the same time saving each month.

Montgomery


Bradley Benjamin

System: 24 roof-mounted panels

Annual Production: 9889kWh

Why I went solar: Going solar was an amazing opportunity to eliminate our electric bills while saving the environment. Being able to take advantage of state rebates and federal credits made this really affordable so why not?

Naperville


Bill Van Loan

System: 34 roof-mounted panels, EV

Annual Production: 15.5MWh

Why I went solar: Installing solar was a no brainer. Not only do I save money on my electric bill, it adds value to my property.

Northbrook


Mary Reynolds

System: Roof-mounted panels, EV

Annual Production: Too soon to tell

Why I went solar: It seemed to be the right thing to do and there wasn't any downside.

Northbrook


John and Merilee Novinson

System: Roof-mounted panels in two different arrays

Annual Production: 5200kWh

Why I went solar: The south facing 2009 panels are far less efficient than the 2019 array on the north side of the house. We will have technical data available at the tour. We have 6 grandchildren and believe anyone with the means to reduce fossil fuel based energy is morally obligated to do so for the sake of the generation that follows. We also wanted to encourage others to invest in the future. Finally, as evidenced by the improvements in 10 years, we wanted to invest in the industry.

Northbrook


Aaron Stash

System: 39 roof-mounted panels, EV

Annual Production: 15MWh

Why I went solar: Climate change is the biggest challenge of our time and we wanted to take action. Our home is LEED Platinum certified (2014) - before solar - and this was an obvious next step once the Illinois incentives stabilized. With government support for renewable energy, we can all make a difference that’s affordable and right for the planet.

Northbrook


Bernadette Knight & William Johnson

System: 41 roof-mounted panels

Annual Production: ~15MWh

Why I went solar: We installed solar as we wanted to use a clean energy source rather than use electricity from fossil fuels. We want to reduce our carbon footprint to support global efforts to tackle climate change. The federal subsidy made this project affordable and it made financial sense.

Northbrook


Tom and Alyson Breuer

System: 11 roof-mounted panels

Annual Production: 3200kWh

Why I went solar: It was expected to be a major cost savings and we knew it to be good for the environment. The roof orientation was perfect for an unobstructed, unobtrusive installation.

Northbrook


Bob Israel

Link to Video

System: 30 roof-mounted panels

Annual Production: Too early to tell!

Why I went solar: To reduce my carbon footprint and help make the world a slightly better place.

Northbrook


Techny Prairie Activity Center - Northbrook Park District

System: 833 roof-mounted panels

Annual Production: 372MWh

Why I went solar: Techny Prairie Activity Center, a facility of the Northbrook Park District, is a brand-new state-of-the-art facility located in beautiful Techny Prairie Park and Fields. With sweeping views of the surrounding prairie and Anetsberger Golf Course, you will feel immersed in nature and open space while experiencing a future-forward sustainable and highly efficient Net-Zero Energy facility. Techny Prairie Activity Center meets all of your fitness and recreation needs in one of the most beautiful settings in Northbrook. Incorporating the Northbrook Park District’s mission of environmental stewardship and sustainability, Techny Prairie Activity Center is constructed as a Net Zero Energy Building—a highly energy-efficient facility with the total calculated amount of energy used by the building being equal to or less than the amount of renewable energy created on-site.

Please visit www.nbfitness.org/net-zero/ for more information on the Techny Prairie Activity Center.

Northbrook


Northbrook Court

Link to Drone Footage

System: 3095 roof-mounted panels

Annual Production: 1300MWh

Why I went solar: Northbrook Court is committed to sustainability! Part of that commitment is generating 1.2M kWh of carbon-free electricity each year through our investment in Solar.

Go Green Northbrook


Go Green Northbrook Local Tour

Go Green Northbrook will host the first annual Northbrook Solar Tour on Sept. 25 in conjunction with the Illinois Solar Energy Association (ISEA) state-wide tour. Let us know if you would like to display your solar system and inspire the community to go solar!

Learn more here

Oak Park

Jakob Eriksson

System: 24 roof-mounted panels, EV

Annual Production: 9000kWh

Why I went solar: Beyond sound finances and lower CO2 emissions, we wanted to show that a grand old house, located in the Frank Lloyd Wright historic district, can have panels facing the street and still look great.

Oak Park


John Putnam

System: 18 roof-mounted panels

Annual Production: 3510kWh

Why I went solar: We installed solar to lower our carbon footprint and fight to lower the effects of humans on the climate. We wanted to use the sun on our house to supply electricity not only for us, but for all the others hooked up to the grid.

Oak Park


Milos Zefran & Barbara Di Eugenio

System: 20 roof-mounted panels

Annual Production: 8012kWh

Why I went solar: It was a long time we wanted to do our part as concerns renewable energy. We are concerned about climate change.  Additionally, we believe that the more homeowners install solar, the lower the price will become, making it more affordable for more people. 18 months after the installation, we couldn't be happier: last year, our production exceeded our needs by about 800kWh; this includes charging our hybrid plug-in car. We are contributing to lowering the consumption of fossil fuels and the production of CO2; every bit helps.

Prospect Heights

Glenn and Margaret Reed

System: 40 roof-mounted panels in two different systems

Annual Production: 11MWh

Why I went solar: We're passionate about solar! It helps us minimize our negative impact on the environment, and save money at the same time!

Sandwich


Ann Jennings

System: 20 roof-mounted panels

Annual Production: 5000kWh

Why I went solar: To help the environment.

West Chicago

Mike Bullock

Recording from 9/26/20 Live Zoom Tour

Link to Video

System: 41 roof-mounted panels, air-based heat pump

Annual Production: 11.4MWh

Why I went solar: We installed Solar PV to reduce our carbon footprint and because it is the best financial investment we can make in our home. We are on a path to electrify everything and meet our energy needs with the sun. With other efficiency improvements, we expect to meet almost 100% of our electricity needs this year from the sun. This includes driving the Volt and providing heat for the house (except for the coldest days).

Western Springs

Stephen Baker

System: 28 roof-mounted panels, EVs

Annual Production: 11.2MWh

Why I went solar: We thought solar power was a no-brainer once we understood how economical it was. We have two electric cars and firmly believe in both the benefits and the common sense in electrifying as much as possible.

Wheaton


Jeff Gahris

Recording from 9/26/20 Live Zoom Tour

Link to Video

System: 8 roof-mounted panels

Annual Production: 3700kWh

Why I went solar: We were excited to join the clean energy revolution for both financial and environmental reasons. We have enjoyed sharing our solar lifestyle with others who are interested in going solar.

Wilmette

Ben Tolsky

System: 15 roof-mounted panels

Annual Production: 3800kWh

Why I went solar: I wanted to do something that would be good for the environment, as well as teach my children about the importance of taking care of the Earth. I didn't think that solar would be a good option in Chicago with our weather. I actually thought that wind might be more appropriate. I attended a fair which had a handful of renewable energy installers, and all confirmed that not only is solar better than wind (some sold both), but that with the current level incentives it would pay for itself long before the kids went to college. That made it a no-brainer, and 3 months later I had solar panels installed on my roof.

Wilmette


Beth Drucker

Link to Video

System: 12 roof-mounted panels, solar thermal, EVs

Annual Production: 5000kWh

Why I went solar: When we had to reroof the house, we had to remove the eight year old solar panels. Efficiency has improved so much that we were able to replace the old panels with a similarly-sized system and make twice the energy.

Wilmette


Lisa Crowe

System: 33 roof-mounted panels, leased

Annual Production: 9598kWh

Why I went solar: We decided to go solar in order to support clean, renewable energy, rather than fossil fuels. We also wanted to support solar jobs and the solar industry, encourage others in our community to go solar, and increase our home value!

Wilmette


Raymond Macika

System: 18 roof-mounted panels, EV

Annual Production: 6500kWh

Why I went solar: I installed solar panels to help reduce my carbon footprint and help reduce my energy costs. I primarily looked at the bigger picture of the benefits to society and setting an example for others and secondarily on system cost and return on investment.

Go Green Wilmette


Go Green Wilmette Local Tour

Go Green Wilmette will host the first annual Wilmette Solar Tour on Sept. 25 in conjunction with the Illinois Solar Energy Association (ISEA) state-wide tour. Let us know if you would like to display your solar system and inspire the community to go solar!

Learn more here

Woodridge

James and Beth Galbreath

Recording from 9/26/20 Live Zoom Tour

Link to Video

System: 16 roof-mounted panels, EV

Annual Production: 5900kWh

Why I went solar: We have been passionate about the environment and safe, renewable energy forever! But living in homes we didn't own for 43 years, we focused on energy conservation until retirement. At last owning our own home, we are doing everything we can to cut our carbon footprint and mitigate climate change, for the sake of all creatures who live on God's good earth. The money savings doesn't hurt either.


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