Chicago’s largest commercial solar array supports African American advocacy group

Evolution of renewable energy built a 213 kWDC solar project utilizing roof racks and solar carports in South Chicago. The two-tier array was installed in the Chicago Urban League, one of the nation’s oldest urban advocacy organizations for the advancement of African Americans.

Credit: Terrasmart

Terrasmart supplied the fixed tilt system for the two parking roofs with a total of 162 kW.

“We’re excited about what this means for environmental justice in our Chicago communities,” said Andrew Wells, project leader and vice president of the Chicago Urban League’s Workforce Development Center. “Our project will increase awareness, inclusion and access to the clean energy economy for the people of the South Side.”

In 2017, the League launched two training programs in solar installation and PV sales through its Workforce Development Center program with solar incentives from Illinois Solar For All. The annual cohort of 75 interns has access to renewable energy job fairs, which are held in conjunction with organizations such as the Illinois Solar Energy Association, the Solar Energy Industries Association, and the Coalition for Community Solar Access.

“We are honored to have played a part in such a landmark project,” said Ed McKiernan, president of Terrasmart. “Not only is this the largest commercial PV installation in the city of Chicago, but it is also an important milestone in providing more equitable access to the solar economy. Terrasmart is proud to partner with the Chicago Urban League and Renewable Energy Evolution.”

Wells and his team are adding two electric vehicle charging stations to the current system. He is also planning a new community solar park for tenants who want to reduce their electricity bills.

“Terrasmart went beyond this landmark project,” said Brian Maillet, founder and CEO of Renewable Energy Evolution. “Their assistance with engineering, design, licensing and implementation of the city’s largest solar carport system was critical to the project’s success.”

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