College of Lake County | Solar Panel Array System Installation

Cotter partnered with the College of Lake County to install a 1.9-megawatt solar panel array system on Grayslake Campus, in accordance with their efforts to reach carbon neutrality by the year 2042. This project, which occurred between October 2020 and June 2021, required the installation of around 5,000 solar panels on the roofs of several building wings, plus a ground mount solar field on the west side of campus. The use of these solar panels is projected to save CLC nearly $50,000 annually and will meet 16% of campus’ yearly electricity usage.

The solar array scope consisted of the complete engineering design and installation of the solar array system over one ground location, and eight building roof fields including all electrical interconnection between field sections and tie-in to multiple building switchgear locations. The analysis of several areas of the existing building structure (for loading capacity), coordination with ComEd, and coordination with the Grayslake Fire Protection District (AHJ) were also performed.

The project was procured as a Guaranteed Energy Savings contract under the Illinois Community College Act and was contracted as a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA). This allowed the developer to take advantage of block grant incentives, thus incurring no upfront cost to the College for an installation project that would have cost $3.2 million.

In order to properly execute the solar panel installation, several roofs required complete replacement. This work included four complete roof replacements with parapet repairs (as needed), and the installation of a third sheet membrane on three recently replaced, large wings. Roof construction took place from October 2020 to March 2021, at a cost of $3.3 million.

A trailblazer in sustainability efforts in Illinois, the College of Lake County chose Cotter as program manager over nine years ago to manage projects with the Sustainable Master Plan. This project was a continuation of those efforts and will aid the College in continuing to provide a progressive, environmentally friendly environment to their students and faculty.

Grasylake, IL



Project completion

Project Team

The project success was due to the incredible coordination and communication between CLC (leadership team and project personal), the developer/design engineering team (Oynx Renewables), the construction team (Fresh Coast Solar), ComEd, the AHJ review team and Knickerbocker Roofing (separate contract). The project demanded a high level of workmanship & quality control, coordination, and logistics in order to complete the project per schedule and budget with minimal impact to CLC operations & educational activity.

College of Lake County Green Energy

Learn more about the Solar Panel Installation process here.
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