About Our Solar Panels
On Tuesday, October 27, Shir Hadash commissioned a 117,000 watt solar panel system. The solar system will reduce the Synagogue’s carbon dioxide emission by nearly 106 tons a year, which is the equivalent of planting more than 4,200 trees each year. In the next 25 years, the energy saved will be the equivalent of planting 108,976 trees or reducing automobile use by over 4 million miles. The system will save Shir Hadash more than $20,000 per year in energy costs, and will pay for itself in about seven and a half years.
Shir Hadash Rabbi Eitan Weiner-Kaplow says, “Our Jewish tradition teaches that human beings have the obligation to protect the wonderful world that God has given us. By installing solar panels on the roof, Shir Hadash Synagogue is taking a big step in fulfilling our stewardship of creation as we reduce pollution and scale down our carbon footprint. This is a proud moment for our community.”
Shir Hadash will be hosting a “Solarbration” on Sunday, March 13, at 12:30 p.m. to introduce the public to our new solar system and answer questions about the project.
According to the Village of Wheeling, Shir Hadash is the second business or organization to install solar panels that produce this amount of energy in Wheeling. Shir Hadash grant writer Rachel Schick Siegel notes, “We believe that Shir Hadash likely possesses the largest solar array of any synagogue in the Midwest. It’s also the largest of all religious institutions in Illinois.”
The Synagogue was awarded a grant of $240,000 by the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation (ICECF) to help fund the project. The ICECF was formed in 1999 as an independent foundation endowed by Commonwealth Edison. Its goal is to improve energy efficiency, advance the development and use of renewable energy resources, and protect natural areas and wildlife habitat in communities all across Illinois. ICECF has provided thousands of grants to not-for-profit organizations, schools, municipalities and other local and state government agencies in each of the 102 counties within Illinois.
The solar array was installed on the roof of the synagogue’s facility at 200 W. Dundee Road in Wheeling, Illinois. The building’s flat commercial roofs had large open spaces that were well-suited for this type and size of array. Three hundred and sixty American made, Solar World 325 watt panels were placed in service using Panel Claw ballasted roof racking. Five 5-SMA 20kW TL inverters are converting the DC power produced by the array into AC for use in the building.
Shir Hadash worked with WindFree Solar on this project. The system includes a gateway web-based monitoring system. Steve Cortesi, Windfree project manager and chief engineer on the project, will train the Synagogue staff on how to monitor the data and maintain the system. WindFree will inspect the system twice a year and has provided a two-year parts and labor warranty on the system. On Sunday, May 15, Shir Hadash and WindFree will host a “Solarbration” open house for the congregation and the public, detailing the project’s specifications and benefits.