Chicago Botanic Garden has received a $172,800 grant from the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation for a solar PV array installed on the pavilion roofs of its new nursery facility.
The PV array consists of 320 270-watt modules facing west at a 2⁰ pitch. Although south facing with a greater pitch is preferred, this relatively flat position was chosen to complement the aesthetics of the nursery pavilions while maximizing the roof space to allow for the production of 114,596 kWh and $11,964 in utility savings annually.
The return on investment for the system includes using the generated energy to supplement other Garden facilities nearby, including new plant production greenhouses once constructed.
Environmental Systems Design provided design and consulting services for the PV system, including performance calculations throughout design and for the grant application process. The firm also provided assistance with the permitting process with Cook County and coordination with the utilities.
Habi-Tek, hired as the PV design consultant, provided advice on inverter choice, layout of panels, maximizing kilowatt-hour production and net metering.