It is excellent news that solar energy has grown in popularity and demand over the last couple of decades. It is a clean energy source that can fuel both homes and commercial buildings efficiently. Additionally, it has the potential to free the United States from dependence on natural gas imports from foreign countries or at least greatly alleviate that dependence in the short term. With these clear advantages, it is no surprise that many organizations are looking for ways to add solar energy to their establishments. If you are considering this very question, keep reading for 4 solar energy project ideas that you might consider for your own organization or business. We also touch on how Renewable Energy Evolution’s (REE) integrated approach to solar project development has played crucial roles in such projects.
Solar Panels On Rooftops
One of the most traditional approaches to solar energy is the addition of solar panels to rooftops. We see these on homes and commercial buildings more and more frequently, and for good reason. They are an efficient and reliable means of partaking in the many benefits of solar energy. Additionally, solar panels can last an impressively long time. In fact, the average solar panel’s lifespan is 25-30 years. So, they tend to be a sound investment.
At REE, we have overseen roof mount solar array installations, such as the project at the Sai Spiritual Foundation’s facility in Northlake, IL. We spearheaded and procured funding for this development as an approved vendor for Illinois Solar for All program.
Ground Mount Solar Arrays
Ground mount solar arrays are similar to rooftop solar paneling systems but are installed in large yard or field spaces. They sit directly on the ground so are an excellent choice if you have a large outdoor space. Due in part to this requirement, many of the ground mount solar projects REE has undertaken have been at schools and in particular community colleges.
One example of such a project was the Joliet Junior College solar array in Joilet, IL. We worked with Sunlarge Industries to procure the necessary financing to build a 1,328kw on the school campus. REE is currently monitoring the system and is the Illinois Adjustable Block Program approved vendor. You can read more about this and our other accomplishments on REE’s featured projects page.
Another option for a highly effective solar project is a solar carport. The solar yield for this type of project can be quite impressive. Solar carports often involve the installation of a fixed-tilt rack or racking system, depending on the size of the lot. They provide shade and weather protection to parked automobiles, like traditional carports, with the added benefit of solar energy production.
For the Chicago Urban League, REE, along with CUL and Sunlarge, built Chicago’s largest solar carport. This carport works in tandem with its solar rooftop panels to yield 213kW of solar power. This project has significantly improved the Southside neighborhood’s clean energy access. REE and Sunlarge are owners of this solar carport and we are working with CUL on an equity ownership model. In addition, REE is currently monitoring the system and is the Illinois Solar for All approved vendor
On the note of improving access, another type of solar project you might consider is one that is primarily equity-focused. With these projects, the ultimate goal is to expand solar power for communities that have historically had limited access due to financial constraints and other systemic barriers.
REE prides itself on its commitment to supporting such expansion efforts. In 2021, created a solar energy project that would provide financial benefits to the tenants residing in a low-incoming building (Pontiac Towers in Pontiac, Illinois). As the Approved Vendor, REE secured the Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) for the 370kw roof and ground mount combo system from the Illinois Solar for All and the Multi-Tenant Distribution Generation (DG) program.
How REE Can Support Your Solar Energy Project
No matter what type of solar energy project you’re interested in, REE can support its development. We take an integrated approach to solar energy consultation that calls on our expertise in all aspects of solar power development, permitting and regulations, project funding, and more. Learn more about the invaluable support you gain by hiring solar energy consultants like REE!