Ana Garcia Doyle and Jim Doyle’s garage was falling apart, the slab was cracked, and they had received citations. They knew they wanted to add solar panels to a new garage they planned on building behind their Oak Park home. In order for Ana and Jim to fit enough solar panels to provide 100 percent of their home’s electricity and for the garage to be at an optimal pitch to capture the sun’s rays, the structure would have to be much taller than a typical garage. Therefore, Ana and Jim decided to build a large, two-story garage with a greenhouse attached and a top floor that could be used as an office or a room for community meetings.
Solar energy deployment is getting super charged on Chicago’s near west side, thanks to a community-based program called PlanItGreen: Solar in Your Community. The program is developing a pipeline of community solar projects to meet the renewable energy goal in Oak Park and River Forest’s PlanItGreen sustainability plan: achieve 25% renewable energy procurement by 2020.