PlanItGreen holds regular Lunch and Learn sessions that provide institutional and community leaders with expert information and facts on various sustainability topics. The March 7 Lunch and Learn focused on the PlanItGreen Solar in Your Community (SIYC) Challenge led by members of the SIYC effort in Oak Park and River Forest.
As PlanItGreen continues to help ensure a more sustainable community, it is working to educate community members on various aspects of solar energy. The March 7 lunch gave the 17 community members who attended an overview of PIG’s solar projects and initiatives.
Seven Generations Ahead executive director Gary Cuneen led the presentation, describing the goal of the Solar in Your Community Challenge as “bringing solar to low to moderate income households, nonprofits and local governments.”
PlanItGreen is catalyzing new projects and connecting institutions to larger community solar projects developing in Illinois, Cuneen said.
Joining Cuneen were other PIG members, who provided information and updates on solar in the OPRF community. SGA’s Community solar consultant Mark Burger, who has been working with PIG for about two years now, presented information on Solar Power Purchase Agreements and building community solar through municipal aggregation. Burger has been collecting energy usage data from local institutions and assessing the rooftop solar capacity in Oak Park and River Forest.
Chris Lindgren of the Park District of Oak Park (PDOP) provided details on current solar projects within the district. Recently, 10 more solar panels were purchased for the Longfellow Center, he said. In addition, the PDOP is currently working on getting funding for future solar projects to bring more solar resources into the community.
Mindy Agnew, the Village of Oak Park’s Sustainability Coordinator, announced Oak Park is in the final stages of being nationally recognized as a designated SolSmart City. “The designation recognizes local governments for spurring solar market growth,” according to the SolSmart website. If Oak Park achieves this designation, it will join the ranks of 150 other municipalities nationwide. “We have made a leap in the right direction and all of the work we’ve done until this point has paid off,” Agnew said.
Read more about PlanItGreen community solar initiatives on SGA’s website.