Woodlawn Middle School/Country Elementary School Solar Panel Complex
Kildeer Countryside School District decided to reduce its carbon footprint. The solar panels not only benefit both of the schools but the students as well. This project will provide endless STEM learning opportunities for current and future students. Students also had the opportunity to put their personal touch on the panels and get creative. The colorful artwork is inspired by the animals that roam Illinois prairies.
Located on Country Meadows Elementary and Woodlawn Middle School’s campus, this 3-acre solar complex includes over 3,000 solar panels. The solar complex will meet 92% of the electrical demand for both campuses, making the total project cost of over $3.7 million well worth it for the school district.
Eriksson Engineering Associates, Ltd. (EEA) was retained to provide land planning, civil engineering, and landscape architectural services. A precise analysis was conducted to review the existing municipal land use and zoning regulations, as well as an analysis of the existing site conditions to establish the parameters for the siting of the solar array.
It was determined that there were some existing wetlands on the property and wooded areas around the perimeter of the site that would allow for the array to be centrally located on the site with little impact on the surrounding uses. After further review of the municipal regulations, it was revealed that there were provisions in the existing ordinance that allowed for the solar array to be added to the property as a special use.
The ground was lowered for the solar array area itself, and perimeter landscaped berms and fencing were built to enhance screening of the array from neighboring properties. Soil erosion measures were needed to protect adjacent wetlands, and existing floodplain volumes were preserved. To finish up the project, EEA seeded the areas with native vegetation, added an asphalt access path, and a viewing area with ornamental iron fencing was provided.
After several months of public hearings, refinement of the grading, drainage, landscape and screening plans, and detailed line of sight exhibits, the solar array began construction in late 2019. Construction was completed and brought online in early 2021.