Written by Ryan Martin
Wednesday, 30 October 2013 00:00
In an effort to create more sustainable and clean energy, Governor Quinn and The Shedd Aquarium have recently announced the largest Solar Panel Installation at a Cultural Institution in Illinois.
The first phase of the project began on the 20th of October with the installation of 913 solar panels on the roof of The Shedd Aquarium. The 265 kilowatt project has been funded through a combination of public and private funds, with the state of Illinois investing $205,000 of the $1.1 million needed.
“Shedd’s green energy efforts demonstrate how Illinois is paving the way in advancing next-generation clean technology and sustainable energy,” said Governor Quinn. “The solar panel project at the aquarium is the start of many progressive changes to our energy economy, serving as a model to integrate sustainability into operations for organizations around the country.”
The Shedd Aquarium aims to cut its’ energy consumption in half by 2020, as a part of its’ Master Energy Roadmap plan. The installation of the new solar panels is helping the Shedd bring it closer to its goal of saving around 10 million kilowatt hours annually, which is enough energy to power 750 households for a year.
Karen Weigert, the Chief Sustainability Officer for the City of Chicago, applauded the latest push for sustainable energy in Chicago, which in 2012 won the Siemens Sustainable Community award in the large community category.
“We are thrilled to see Shedd Aquarium take on significant changes to move toward a complete transition to renewable energy sources.” said Weigert. “This emphasis on renewable energy sources through initiatives such as Shedd’s Energy Roadmap is a priority of the Mayor’s and will help motivate sustainable strategies through practical solutions through our entire community in the future.”
As a leader in sustainable energy, Chicago recently hosted the Solar Power International Conference.
Governor Quinn addressed the conference, highlighting the importance of sustainable energy and the advances the state has made.
“In order to protect this great natural resource, we must educate ourselves and the world around us.” said Quinn. “In Illinois we understand the critical importance of solar energy and strengthening the industry to ensure a promising future for this innovative technology.”
Illinois already ranks in the top 10 of solar friendly states, but is looking to increase it’s use of renewable energy even more.
Governor Quinn has implemented standards that will require Illinois to have 25% of its’ energy come from renewable sources, with 6% needing to come from solar.
Businesses and residents are already taking advantage of the incentives offered, through clean energy rebates and grants. Over 1,700 rebates and grants, which are given for solar, wind, biomass, and biogas installations, have been given out so far.
In 2012 Illinois saw a 259 percent increase in solar electricity installation investments. This large increase in investment has already paid off in the form of a 26 percent decrease in average prices for residential and commercial solar systems. The increase in solar installations now account for enough energy to power 6,200 households annually.
The push for more sustainable energy is not only beneficial for the environment, but also helps create jobs. In Illinois, the 185 companies in the solar supply chain employ around 1,700.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 29 October 2013 13:58