Nine Park District facilities currently utilize energy generated by their own solar panels totaling over 370 kW. This energy generation is equal to 55 homes or planting over 22,615 trees every year for an annual cost savings of approximately $81,000. Solar panels are located at the Austin Gardens Environmental Education Center, Fox Center, John Hedges Administrative Center, Longfellow Center, Ridgeland Common Recreation Complex, and Oak Park Conservatory, Barrie Center, Carroll Center and Stevenson Center.
In alignment with the Park District’s comprehensive plan and core values, we entered into an agreement with Realgy, LLC of West Hartford, Connecticut to install a solar field on the south roof of Ridgeland Common Recreation Complex (RCRC). The solar panels, installed in fall 2016, are helping the District save approximately $25,000 annually through energy service and delivery costs to RCRC. In addition, this agreement allows the Park District to reduce our carbon footprint. Additional solar panels were added to the RCRC roof at the end of 2018 through our partnership with Realgy increasing our savings to $60,000 annually.
The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) partnered with the Park District on the installation cost of 20 solar panels on Longfellow Center. In addition, the NRDC gifted the panels to the District which were installed December 2016. These panels provide a substantial amount of the power needed for Longfellow Center allowing the Park District to recover all costs from the purchase and installation of the system in less than 6 years through energy savings. In December 2017, the Park District purchased an additional 10 solar panels for the roof at Longfellow Center which were installed the first quarter of 2018.
In fall 2018, 30 solar panels were installed on the Fox Center roof as part of the Park District’s mission to be a leader in sustainability.
A 22kW solar field was installed on the roof of the Oak Park Conservatory at the end of 2018. This project was funded through the Green Mountain Energy Citizen Sustainability Pledge Program.