Joliet Junior College (JCC) is adding a solar array to its main campus in Joliet, Ill.
In December, the JJC board of trustees approved a contract whereby Pivot Energy will install a 1.37 MW project. There are no out-of-pocket costs to JJC, which will initially pay a fixed, discounted rate for the energy generated and take ownership of the panels after a decade.
“This solar installation just continues JJC’s long-standing commitment to faculty, students and staff in reducing energy costs to remain an affordable, quality institution,” states Pat Van Duyne, director of facility services.
JJC’s sustainability initiatives can be traced back to the 1970s – after the college moved to what is now main campus – when it implemented an energy-savings plan. Since 2000, JJC has completed over 50 sustainability projects, including multiple LEED-certified buildings.
Pivot Energy partnered with Joliet oncologist and philanthropist Dr. Sarode Pundaleeka to finance the solar array. After 10 years, Pundaleeka will donate the panels to JJC, producing an additional savings for the college. Over its lifespan, the solar array is projected to save the school more than $1.1 million. Pundaleeka hopes some of these savings go toward preparing students for careers in clean energy and enabling future research opportunities.
Pivot Energy also intends to plant a pollinator forage around the panels using native grasses and forbs. This will support habitats for bees, butterflies and other pollinators, plus aid in mitigating droughts and stormwater.
The installation of the solar panels will take place in the spring on a seven-acre plot of land.