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Solar Panels First on Habitat for Humanity Home in Illinois

New Trier High School and Go Green Wilmette partner to donate solar panels for Waukegan Home


Habitat for Humanity Lake County is partnering with New Trier High School to provide the first solar panels on a Habitat for Humanity home in Illinois. The panels will provide reduced-cost electricity for the homeowner for the 30+ year life of the panels. The project will include approximately 14 panels resulting in a 4.2kW array. This will provide half to three-quarters of the energy needs for an average home this size.

Installation of the solar panels was Friday, June 1st at 1421 McAree Road in Waukegan, Illinois.

Annually, New Trier senior class studets raise approximately $100,000 through fundraisers to build one home with a low-income Habitat Partner Family. This year, the home is a 1200 square foot ranch in Waukegan.

Funding for the solar panels was raised by Go Green Wilmette in collaboration with Go Green Winnetka, Go Green Northfield, Go Green Glencoe and Go Green Kenilworth. They welcome additional donations to reach the $20,000 needed to cover the cost of the installation.

The solar panels will be installed by Windfree who designed the system, obtained the materials and provided education and leadership to Habitat for Humanity for the project. Doug Snower, owner of Windfree said, “This project is an exciting collaboration with a school, a non-profit and an environmental organization.”

The solar panels dovetail with our goal to build strength, stability, self-reliance and shelter in local communities.

"Energy-use is a large part of every homeowner’s monthly payment and this will help them,” says Julie Donovan, Executive Director of Habitat for Humanity Lake County. “We are grateful to the five environmental organizations in the New Trier High School District 203 for their inspiration and leadership on this project.”

“The solar panels are an interesting addition to our construction program," said Ted Ramai, Construction Manager of Habitat for Humanity Lake County. “We are learning more about solar products and installation and can educate the community as part of this build.”

Habitat homes meet Energy Star standards with high levels of insulation, and air sealing, and energy-efficient mechanical systems, windows and appliances along with low-VOC materials.

“We are excited that our students will build the 18th New Trier home with solar panels," said Chris Pearson, Boys Senior Advisor, at New Trier High School. “The students will learn more about solar power and carry that experience into their future.”

Beth Drucker, Executive Director of Go Green Wilmette and member of the New Trier Sustainability Committee said, “I look forward to this partnership because it will create a house with reduced on-going energy costs for the family. It will also raise awareness of options available to every homeowner to save money and the environment.”


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