Chicagoans find value in solar energy, and the number of photovoltaic and solar panel related permits issued each year is increasing. Our data shows that single family, multi-family, non-profits, and businesses install solar technologies. Furthermore, they are scattered across the city, but found more frequently on the north side. Use Chicago Cityscape's interactive map to learn more about solar energy sites near you.
The two largest rooftop solar projects are at large institutions: the Shedd Aquarium (with 265kw and 913 panels) and the Institute of Cultural Affairs (with 150kw and 492 panels). The Institute of Cultural Affairs (ICA), a community development organization that also manages a 166,000 sf building with many other nonprofit tenants, estimates that these solar panels "will lead to 23% reduction in electricity use and savings of up to $16,000 per year." Both the ICA and the Shedd Aquarium have a strong commitment to sustainability, and solar is one component of each institution's broader plan.
Solar projects are becoming increasingly popular with smaller buildings: multi-unit and single family residences and businesses. Some are renovations, and others are new construction projects expressly designed to use solar power. Here is a breakdown of the total number of solar-related permits issued per year. 2015 was a record year for solar permits.
About the data
The map and chart data is based on building permits related to permit searches for solar and photovoltaics, with unrelated projects (including solar water heaters) removed. This data includes solar canopies, solar trees, and some solar powered signage. It does not include solar powered Divvy stations.