Owners of new Social apartment community looking to add rooftop solar panels to power common areas: ‘We want to take advantage of that sunshine and reduce our carbon emissions’
Approximately half the energy needed to power the common areas of the 302-unit 444 Social apartments located near the intersection of Milwaukee Avenue and Aptakisic Road in Lincolnshire is about to come from solar power.
Trustees reached a consensus at the Oct. 28 Committee of the Whole meeting to allow the project’s property owners to install solar panels on the roofs of the two buildings to fuel common area energy needs.
Tenants started moving into the relatively new residences over the summer and a grand opening was held in July. Tonya Zozulya, the village’s planning and development manager, said occupancy is already high.
Zozulya said any work on the roof of a commercial development requires study by the Architecture Review Board and approval from the trustees. A final vote is expected Nov. 11.
Property developer Scott Greenberg has added innovations to the apartment community, like an online platform to aid maintenance needs, and he said now he plans to harness solar energy to power common areas like the swimming pool, fitness center and community gathering rooms.
Greenberg said the use of solar energy will reduce the need for buying energy from power utility company Commonwealth Edison that is generated from coal and other carbon related sources. The solar system, he said, will supply approximately 50 percent of the common areas’ needs.
“Sunshine is in plentiful supply,” Greenberg said. “We want to take advantage of that sunshine and reduce our carbon emissions to hopefully help the planet. It’s not going to be visible by our residents or by other people.”
Aaron Wilson, CEO of Solar One, the company which designed the system Greenberg wants to install, said there would be 837 glass panels atop the two buildings. It covers less than 44 percent of the roof and generates no noise. There is also no glare to impact nearby road or air traffic, he said.
“The glass that’s used on the solar panel itself is very unique,” Wilson said. “It’s the only glass that’s designed to absorb light. Normally glass is designed to reflect it. This is the complete opposite. It’s not going to provide any glare or glint.”
Wilson said the panels could be picked up and moved if necessary when roof maintenance is required. They would be held on the roof by ballast weight.
There were questions from the trustees about potential wind damage and why there was a delay from the time of original constriction. Wilson said the panels are built to withstand winds of up to 115 miles per hour – which is the village code requirement
Greenberg said it is now more beneficial to make the investments in solar energy because the state began offering more inducements this year. There are also some offered by the federal government.
“In 2019, we’re sort of at a moment where there’s been a big push to incentivize,” Greenberg said. “We’re trying to take advantage of those solar incentives that are available (from) the state and federal government.”
The apartment complex currently offers a mix of studio, one, two and three-bedroom units ranging in size from 545 square feet for a studio to 1,544 square feet for the largest three-bedroom apartment, according to the building’s website. Monthly rents range from $1,499 to $3,899.
— written by Steve Sadin