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Mundelein School District 75 Finds Innovative Way to Save Money through Solar Panels

Officials at Mundelein Elementary School District 75 have found an innovative way to save $2 million over the course of 25 years by purchasing electricity from solar panels installed on school property.

“I responded to an email solicitation from Forefront Power and quickly became convinced this would be a win financially, environmentally and educationally,” explained Andy Henrikson, Superintendent.

“We chose the fixed rate power purchase agreement, so there will be no increases to our costs for purchasing the electricity,” Henrikson added.

The plan involves mounting solar panels to poles in a detention pond behind Mechanics Grove Elementary School — an idea that gained traction recently after the Mundelein Park District agreed earlier this month to sell the property to District 75. The power generated by the solar panels would be delivered to Mechanics Grove through underground cables.

Solar panels also will be installed at the district’s three other schools, under the plan, after school district officials signed a contract with Forefront Power LLC, he said.

The new rate also would be half of what District 75 currently pays, he said, adding how the difference in price should grow in favor of the school district as ComEd rates increase with inflation over the years. District 75 still will need to purchase some power from ComEd since each school’s allotment of solar panels would produce between 65 percent and 85 percent of the respective building’s typical electrical use.

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