Look! The Greenest Garage in Chicago

Do you see what we spied tucked away in this alley? We did a double take as we walked by…

… and found this newly installed photovoltaic solar array! This is the first type of PV canopy we’ve seen in our neighborhood – let alone the whole city of Chicago. Luckily, while we were snapping photos the owner of the house passed by to give us some more info:

Pin it button big
  • The owner, Tom McGrath, has dubbed the structure, "The Greenest Garage in Chicago." The concrete foundation and slab is made with 50% fly ash. The PV array is comprised of Sanyo HIP 190 bi-facial modules, which is expected to generate 7.6 Kilowatts of power. According to Sanyo, “The back face of a HIT Double panel generates electricity from ambient light reflected off surrounding surfaces, and combines with power from the front face of the panel. Depending upon system design and site albedo, this results in up to 30% higher power generation (more kWh) per square foot.” The array was designed to fulfill a number of needs: provide power, act as a canopy to shade garage rooftop deck, and make a statement – which we think is quite successful.
  • The home will be a renovation and addition, but they started the project by building a new garage with the PV array first. They will use the PV panels to power equipment during construction, and once the project is complete the power will be sold directly back to ComEd.
  • The home is aiming to achieve a LEED platinum rating. The project consists of a renovation and addition. Much of the main house structure will remain intact and materials will be reused where possible. Building a new garage with the PV array first started the project. They will use the PV panels to power equipment during construction, and once the project is complete the power will be sold directly back to ComEd.
Pin it button big

To find out more info on the house, and track it’s progress, visit elementalbuilding.com.

(Images: Rachel Wray)