Joliet Junior College flips the switch on new campus solar system - Smart Energy Decisions

Solar, Sourcing Renewables  -  January 11, 2021

Joliet Junior College flips the switch on new campus solar system

Chicago’s Joliet Junior College (JJC) announced on Jan. 11 that its 1.3-MW onsite solar system is online at its main campus. The solar array consists of 3,542 solar panels 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 kWh of clean and reliable electricity, enough energy to power more than 5,000 Illinois homes. The college is expected to offset its total energy consumption by 22.5%, making the campus one of the greenest in Illinois. 

The panels were provided by retired Joliet oncologist Dr. Sarode Pundaleeka with Sunlarge Industries. 

"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 in a statement. "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."

Throughout 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. Dr. 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,” Dr. Pundaleeka said. “This gives a very distinct and progressive look to the campus. 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, installed by Pivot Energy, 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.

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