Kaid Benfield Archive


Urban solar: can the Windy City become the Sunny City?

Kaid Benfield

Posted June 9, 2009 at 1:38PM

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  solar panels in Indonesia (by: Chandra Marsono, creative commons license)

Chicago may soon boast the largest urban solar array in the country, writes Mariana Rodriguez Orte in The Architect's Newspaper:

"Solar power plants are blooming all over the world, each one claiming to be the biggest and most powerful. But instead of the Mohave Dessert or the Qaidam Basin, Exelon Generation, an energy company that serves the Northeast, parts of Texas, and the city of Chicago, and SunPower Corporation, a manufacturer of solar systems, plan to develop the nation's largest urban solar power plant at a former industrial site on Chicago's South Side.

"Exelon is arguing for the importance of finding urban locations for renewable energy in order to provide electrical services in urban areas. The project is planning to lease and make use of a 39-acre brownfield owned by the City of Chicago at the West Pullman Industrial Redevelopment Area. This 10-megawatt solar photovoltaic (PV) facility, featuring 32,800 solar panels that will produce enough clean energy to fulfill the annual requirements of 1,200 to 1,500 homes, will displace approximately 31.2 million pounds of greenhouse emissions annually (the equivalent of taking more than 2,500 cars off the road or planting more than 3,200 acres of forest)."

For the rest of the story, go here.

[Added on edit 6-10-09] Please also see my colleague Henry Henderson's blog post on this story.