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Archive for the 'Illinois' Category

Illinois Solar School at Einstein Academy

Sunday, October 19th, 2014

There is a new Illinois Solar School installation at the Einstein Academy on 747 Davis Road in Elgin, Illinois.  The project was funded with a 90% cost grant from the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation.

Kojo Darkwa is the primary contact.

The installation consists of 4 US Multi Silicon Solar Modules and an Enphase inverter.  The panels are 250 watts each making the system a 1 kW (1,000 watts).

Illinois Einstein Academy

Illinois Einstein Academy

Illinois Einstein Academy

If you would like to see the data for the electricity generation at the Einstein Academy, the web page can be found here:

There are 75 students at the Einstein Academy.

Jefferson Middle School in Champaign Illinois Celebrates Illinois Wind School installation

Tuesday, May 6th, 2014

It was 8.30 am on Earth Day and there were a bunch of students, teachers and visitors standing outside at the Jefferson Middle School all looking up at the sky. Everyone was watching their new wind turbine turning in the wind and generating clean renewable electricity. The wind school project, funded in large part by a grant from Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation was finally up and running and working perfectly. The school also received grants from the Jefferson Middle School Green Team, Illinois Sustainable Technology Center and the Jefferson Middle School PTSA as well as Jefferson Middle School family donations.

Facts about the turbine:

  1. The turbine has a rated capacity of 3.5 kW
  2. The turbine starts turning when the wind reaches 6.7 miles per hour (mph)
  3. The turbine weighs 363 pounds
  4. The rotor diameter is 13.4 feet
  5. The estimated annual yield is between 5,500 and 11,300 kWh

As with any project like this at a school there are a number of champions who guided the project through its various stages. For me, that champion is Geoffrey Freymuth, Jefferson Middle School Science Teacher. He led a team of Jefferson Middle School administrators, teachers and students, but he was the team leader. The Champaign School District is one of the greenest in the country and they were definitely on his team but the person who was watching over and guiding and worrying about this project was Mr Freymuth.

Wind Turbine Sign

Jefferson WInd Turbine

Jefferson WInd Turbine

Jefferson Middle School

The most interesting thing about the project for me was the qr bar code on the sign that enables anyone with a smart phone to walk up to the sign under the wind turbine and read the wind data. That was such a cool idea. I asked Mr. Freymuth why he added the qr bar code to the sign. “I kept trying to come up with something that would make our project different from the others. Then one night I remembered the qr code. There was a free app for it and we put it on the sign the next day. It was actually pretty easy.”

Let me say that the qr code may have been easy but this project took a lot of hard work from a lot of people and I want to congratulate them on their successful project.

Hawthorn District #73: Illinois Solar Schools Update

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

In our last blog we talked about how all of the Hawthorn Schools have solar electricity panels on them. Everyone in Vernon Hills, Illinois is so excited about these solar school projects that two of the schools provided us with updates.

Hawthorn Middle School South

Illinois Hawthorn Elementary South Solar Panels

According to Michael Brennan, 7th grade science teacher, “Since Middle School South’s Installation (January  18th) to March 19th, we have produced 132 kWh hours of solar energy. We have had a carbon offset of 201 lbs which is the equivalent of two trees. The science classes have begun teaching lessons on solar energy using mini Photovoltaic Cells to raise awareness on our solar panels.”

Hawthorn Aspen Elementary School

Illinois Hawthorn Aspen Elementary

From Lisa Cerauli, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction, “Currently, we have the 5th grade students inform the school on our morning broadcast.  They give the monthly info to the rest of the school during their newscast.”

Every school using solar every day.

Hawthorn District 73 is an Illinois Solar School District

Monday, March 3rd, 2014

There are a lot of solar schools throughout Illinois. Some districts have more than one solar school. In Vernon Hills, the Hawthorn School District (No. 73) has solar school installations at all of its schools.

  • Hawthorn Middle School
  • Hawthorn Aspen Elementary
  • Hawthorn Middle School South
  • Hawthorn Middle School North
  • Hawthorn Elementary School North
  • Hawthorn Elementary School South
  • Townline Elementary/School of Dual Language

Hawthorn Townline

Regardless of how you look at this, it is a school district dedicated to teaching its students about solar electricity.  The schools are on the web site including the solar data.  Lisa Cerauli is our primary contact. is her e-mail in case you want to ask her how she does it.

– Glen Kizer

Saint Andrew School is latest Illinois Solar School

Saturday, August 3rd, 2013

At 1710 W. Addison Street in Chicago, Illinois, there is a wonderful school building with a piece of new technology, a 1+ kW solar electricity system.  The photovoltaic (PV) system will be used as a teaching tool in the classroom and is visible from those same classrooms. Live data can be found on

St. Andrew Solar Panels

St. Andrew Solar Panels

The school is for students up through the 8th grade.  Allen Ackermann is the Principal.  Earth Wind and Solar did the solar installation.

There is a Solar Farm in Rockford, Illinois

Thursday, July 18th, 2013

The Rockford Solar Farm

It is technically called “the Rockford Solar Farm at Rockford Airport.”  It is a 3 MW solar electricity system that generates more than 4,000 MWH per year.  It is on a 30 degree tilt that is fixed and south facing.

The Rockford Solar Farm

All of the panels are high efficiency 290 watt poly modules which are manufactured by the Wanxiang Company and most of them are assembled in their Rockford, Illinois facility.  The site is about 70 acres and was provided in the form of a long term lease with the Rockford Airport Authority and the City of Rockford, Illinois.

The Rockford Solar Farm

The project cost approximately $13 million including project development, engineering, procurement and construction (EPC), interconnection, project management and administration and construction financing.  Another 40 MW is being planned and may start later in 2013 or 2014.  If you have any questions about this project, you may e mail Daniel Li at