Solar panels installed and already working on the top of Washington Elementary School. – NRG photo
In August 2014, NRG announced a plan to modernize and environmentally enhance its Illinois coal fleet with an investment of $567 million, at no cost to Illinois taxpayers or ratepayers. As part of its fleet plan, NRG also announced a donation of $3 million solar system to the City of Waukegan. After discussions with the stakeholder committee led by Mayor Wayne Motley, we saw the brightest opportunity in providing solar for the Waukegan school district.
After detailed engineering evaluations, seven schools were chosen: Andrew Cooke Magnet School, Daniel Webster Middle School, Hyde Park Elementary School, Miguel Juarez Middle School, Jack Benny Middle School, Washington Elementary School, and Whittier Elementary School. The Waukegan school solar installation provides a number of benefits:
Reduces annual energy costs for school district by about $50,000.
Provides carbon-free energy, about 721 Megawatt-hours annually, displacing more than 1.1 million pounds of CO2.
At peak can produce about 681 kilowatts, enough power for about 540 average homes.
Offers educational opportunities for students about clean and renewable energy sources. NRG is providing fact sheets about each school’s installation as well as a detailed presentation for students on how solar power is generated and its benefits.
Includes about 2200 solar panels across the seven schools.
As of Jan. 20, all the schools’ solar systems were energized and delivering clean, renewable power. Currently, the schools are finalizing the installation of large screen monitors in the each school’s lobby, giving students and teachers detailed information about how much power its system is providing. NRG will transfer ownership of the system to Waukegan School District, but NRG will continue to pay for maintaining the system for 20 years.