Chicago theater to go solar

Chicago theater to go solar

By Jeff Havens, Staff Writer

The entrance to Chicago’s Millennium Park Music and Dance Theater will soon be wrapped in solar panels. The $3 million in panels on the roof and three sides will provide enough power to run the two 6,000 square feet pavilions, reported the May 13 Chicago Sun-Times.

The joint project between Chicago and Exelon is expected to be completed by fall. Exelon is the parent company of Illinois energy giant ComEd and PECO. PECO is an energy company that serves about 2 million customers in southeastern Pennsylvania.

Gabriela Martin, manager of environmental commitments for Exelon, said it is very rare to use photovoltaic cells as part of a structure. A meter is planned to show visitors how much energy is being generated at any given moment.

The panels will have a glassy, blue and black look, said Erma Trantor, president of Friends of the Parks. Bob O’Neil, president of the Grant Park Advisory Council, likes the idea of using the sun’s power for the facility.

Hammond Beeby Rupert Ainge Architects of Chicago, designed the theater and will also design the east and west pavilions that serve as the theater’s entrance. The west pavilion will have multi-levels and will house the toilet and information facilities. The east pavilion will be used for a garage elevator entrance and park operations.

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