Exelon City Solar is a 10-megawatt solar installation located on a 41-acre brownfield in Chicago’s West Pullman neighborhood. It captures the sun’s rays and converts them into 14,000 megawatt-hours of electricity per year. The facility was completed in 2010.
The power plant uses SunPower® solar tracking systems that tilt the panels toward the sun as it moves across the sky, increasing energy production by up to 25%.
The clean energy generated by Exelon City Solar displaces more than 30 million pounds of greenhouse gas emissions per year – the equivalent of taking more than 2,500 cars off the road. In developing the former industrial site, which had been vacant for over 30 years, Exelon removed pollutants and safety hazards and beautified the property with an environmentally friendly design and sustainable landscaping. Exelon built an attractive and secure fence around the area, improving local safety and preventing further dumping on the site.
Supporting the Local Economy
During its construction, the $60 million Exelon City Solar project created 200 jobs and sourced much of its labor and building materials from local companies on Chicago’s South Side. The plant provides permanent work in the areas of operations, maintenance and security. Exelon City Solar also expands the local tax base: Exelon is leasing the long-vacant brownfield property from the City of Chicago, generating revenues from rent and real estate taxes.
Besides putting West Pullman – an area where industry once thrived – back on the map, Exelon City Solar is an active community partner:
- Engagement. Exelon worked closely with the City of Chicago, local Alderman Carrie Austin and the West Pullman community to bring Exelon City Solar to fruition, including educating residents and answering questions about the project’s benefits at community meetings and city hearings.
- Education. Exelon City Solar will welcome field trips and offer other educational opportunities. In addition, as part of its agreement with Exelon, development partner SunPower will work with local community colleges to create hands-on training programs and apprenticeships in the field of solar power.
- Charitable Giving. SunPower will install up to five 2 kW solar systems on rooftops of local non-profit and/or low-income housing facilities.
All Exelon facilities employ sophisticated emergency response plans to protect public health and safety. These plans are reviewed and approved by state governments and regulatory agencies. The emergency planning includes coordination with local counties, municipalities and school districts.