White Pine Renewables, New Chicago collaborate on rooftop solar for Chicago-area schools

White Pine Renewables and New Chicago build rooftop solar for Chicago schools

White Pine Renewables has completed four rooftop solar projects for La Grange School District 102. These projects are the first on-site solar projects contributing to power schools in the district, delivering electricity to the schools under a long-term PPAs with White Pine Renewables.  

New Chicago constructed approximately 2,000 solar panels across four of the district’s six schools located in Chicago’s western suburbs: Congress Park, Ogden Avenue, Forest Road, and Park Junior High. As the projects operate, White Pine Renewables and New Chicago will provide long-term operations and maintenance services to ensure that the projects perform as expected.  

“The La Grange School Board began exploring solar for our schools for the purpose of reducing our costs and enhancing education for our students,” said Kyle Schumacher, superintendent of La Grange School District 102. “These projects achieved both objectives without an upfront investment from the district.”

The PPA allows the school district to achieve immediate savings on its energy bills while locking in long-term certainty on future energy costs. The money the school district saves on energy expenditures can be allocated toward other operating costs and educational materials.

White Pine Renewables CEO Evan Riley noted that these projects represent “the first step in a broader opportunity for Illinois schools to achieve substantial savings on their energy bills.” Riley added that White Pine’s PPA model “is a full-service solution that enables schools to save money without any need to budget for upfront capital expenditures.”

New Chicago Partner Eric Graf also noted the benefits of projects for the local community. “We live and work in this community and our children go to school here. We are proud to be a part of this forward-looking school district that is showing the way for other Chicago metropolitan area schools to go solar.”

The educational component of the project was crucial. The project team provided each school with curriculum materials to help students learn more about solar power, as well as easy-to-use, interactive web portals that showed how much energy is produced at each school in real time.

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