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Nearly 500 Solar Panels Unveiled on Uptown Landmark Building

By Adeshina Emmanuel | September 26, 2014 8:52am
 The $600,000 solar panel project could save the ICA GreenRise building $16,000 a year.
The $600,000 solar panel project could save the ICA GreenRise building $16,000 a year.
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UPTOWN — The ICA Greenrise Building in Uptown on Thursday unveiled nearly 500 solar panels installed on its roof, a $600,000 project expected to save the community development agency that owns the structure $16,000 annually in energy costs.

The technology should enable the Chicago landmark at 4750 N. Sheridan Road, owned by the Institute of Cultural Affairs and home to numerous non-profit agencies, to cut its dependency on electricity by 23 percent, according to the organization.

City of Chicago Chief Sustainability Officer Karen Weigert said in a statement that the GreenRise building is "an iconic structure and much more."

"ICA is one of 48 buildings that has committed to at least a 20 [percent] improvement in energy efficiency through Retrofit Chicago and it is transitioning to solar energy for the power that it does need," Weigart said.

ICA Executive Director Terry Bergdall said in a statement that the 483 solar panels were added "because of the crisis we are facing in the world today," related to climate change and the growing need for environmentally friendly energy alternatives.

"The challenge was to find a practical way to make this happen," he said. "The key is to change the mental image of what 'return on investment' means. It goes beyond numbers to doing something for the greater good. ICA is dedicated to building community and connecting other organizations for long term care of the earth."

Bergdall told DNAinfo Chicago in August that ICA sought "social investors who see the importance of enabling early adapters [of solar energy]," which netted about $250,000 of the $600,000 needed.

The Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation provided matching funds and a grant to cover the rest.

Bergdall has touted the solar panels as the largest number of solar panels on any Chicago building outside of Downtown.

To read more about the solar panel project, click here.

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