Ridgeland Recreation Complex Completes Addition to its Solar Power Project


In 2015, Realgy, LLC announced the installation of a 100.8 kilowatt (kWDC) solar photovoltaic (PV) system for the Park District of Oak Park’s (PDOP) Ridgeland Common Recreation Complex. Home to an indoor ice rink and outdoor pool serving the Oak Park community, the rec center has been reaping the benefits of an average generation of 10,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) monthly.

This year, an additional solar PV system of 260.4 kWDC has been installed. Connected to 200 kW AC of inverter capacity, it will produce over 312,000 kWh annually.  Jan Arnold, Executive Director of the PDOP stated: “The Park District of Oak Park is grateful for this valued partnership with Realgy, LLC. Not only are we seeing an annual savings in energy costs but, we are also reducing our carbon footprint with the addition of these solar panels.”

The initial project allowed the center to become a LEED Certified Gold Building, the first of its kind in the Chicago area. Eco Solar Solutions of Morton Grove, Illinois has once again partnered with Realgy to install the new addition. “Eco Solar is proud to be a part of the largest solar array in Chicago’s western suburbs. We are happy to work with the PDOP and Realgy again in this effort to expand the array to 260,400 watts. The Ridgeland Common Recreation Complex site is an ideal location for this large system” said Paul Szczesny, President of Eco Solar.

Realgy, LLC is an alternative energy supplier in Illinois and is the owner of 6 solar PV systems, including our newest at Ridgeland. Realgy is paying for the installation to generate renewable energy locally as part of its sustainable commitment in Illinois. Michael Vrtis, President of Realgy, LLC stated “This, our largest to date solar project highlights the continuation of efforts by the State of Illinois, Eco Solar and the Park District of Oak Park to benefit from bringing environmentally beneficial solar energy at a cost below ComEd. Every year through 2025, we will look back on this project and be able to substantiate for all our children what we did to help our communities.”

With the addition, the Ridgeland PV Solar system now covers 17,240 ft² and plans to generate more than 7.8 million kWh over the next 25 years. That amount of energy could power over 29 average Illinois homes annually. Beyond the economic value are the environmental and health benefits associated with the PV system. Consider this:

  1. Reduction of 422 tons of coal burned each year to produce an equal amount of electricity. That’s the same as getting 844 pickup trucks of coal off the road.
  1. Substituting the use of coal means the removal of 182,000 of CO2 into the environment each year. That is the equivalent of planting 16,834 trees.

Terry Black, Director of Project Development for Eco Solar said, “The new Ridgeland Commons array will have a significant environmental impact. The array will offset the release of 182,000 lbs of CO2 by not burning the 703,000 lbs of coal each year to make the equivalent electricity.”

Realgy and the PDOP entered into a long term agreement under which the District pays nothing for the Solar PV system, its installation or maintenance. Ridgeland simply remains a customer of Realgy and pays only the market-based cost of power it uses (averaging 5% below COMED rates). In addition, the Park District will receive a discount of about 10% as a result of having the solar energy displace energy that would otherwise be delivered (and charged) by COMED.


Chris Lindgren

Superintendent of Parks and Planning

218 Madison St

Oak Park, IL 60302


Eco Solar Solutions, LLC

Paul Szczesny, President


Realgy Energy Services, LLC

Michael Vrtis, President

675 Oakwood Ave

West Hartford, CT 06110