Visitors heading to College of Lake County's Grayslake campus as part of the Illinois Solar Tour on Saturday will get to see the nearly 5,000 solar panels the college has installed since December.
The campus is one of more than a dozen places in the suburbs allowing visitors to see solar panel arrays as part of the tour. Other places in the suburbs include McHenry County College, the Northbrook Park District's Techny Prairie Activity Center and private homes in Arlington Heights, Oak Park, West Chicago and elsewhere.
Before the latest round of installations, CLC -- which has received national recognition for its commitment to environmentally friendly features -- had 187 solar panels on one roof section of the Science Building, which opened in 2018.
David Husemoller, CLC's sustainability manager, said 1,800 of the recently installed solar panels are part of the ground-mount array on 2 acres on the west side of the Grayslake campus, and 3,194 solar panels were installed on the roofs of campus buildings.
CLC officials will lead visitors on a tour of the panels from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Husemoller said visitors will get an up-close look at how they work to capture energy from the sun and convert it into usable power. He said he also plans to have a screen displaying how much solar energy is being collected by the panels in real time.
"So let's hope for some sunshine on Saturday," Husemoller said.
He said there eventually will be five different displays around the campus showing the real-time energy collection information.
Under an agreement signed by the CLC board last September, the panels were installed by Chicago-based Verde Solutions LLC. The company will own the panels for 20 years and charge the school for using the energy generated. The school will save about $32,000 a year in energy costs. After 20 years, the school will own the panels.
Husemoller said the early collection data indicates that the solar panels will provide 16% of the power used at the Grayslake campus.
The tour is organized by the Illinois Solar Energy Association, a group that promotes the use of renewable energy. For a full list of locations on the tour, visit illinoissolar.org/2021-Solar-Tour-Northern.