Solar-and wind-powered streetlights help enhance public safety on school campuses

Washington Park and Bronzeville just got brighter as ComEd today announced that it has completed the installation of new renewable, off-grid streetlights at two Chicago Public Schools (CPS) on Chicago’s south side.

“Our commitment to the communities we serve goes beyond delivering clean, reliable and affordable power to families and businesses. This partnership with Chicago Public Schools and local stakeholders is an example of our dedication to community collaboration to identify and execute solutions to local issues,” ComEd CEO Gil C. Quiniones. “In addition to public safety benefits, students will enjoy a new STEM curriculum designed around the new technology right outside their schools.”

Five streetlights were installed at Walter H. Dyett High School for the Arts in the Washington Park neighborhood, and two streetlights were installed at Perspectives Math and Science Academy Project in the Bronzeville neighborhood. Today, the off-grid lights were officially activated at Walter H. Dyett High School for the Arts in a ribbon-cutting ceremony with expected attendance by Quiniones, Dyett Principal Cortez McCoy, ARIS CEO Dan Connors and 4th Ward Alderman Sophia King.

Manufactured by ARIS Renewable Energy, these off-grid streetlights feature miniature power plants – called Remote Power Units or RPUs – that are not connected to the energy grid but draw energy from wind turbines, solar panels and battery storage, providing more dependable power to provide a safer passage to students and local residents alike. The renewable energy within the streetlights also creates battery storage that results in a self-powered internet connection, allowing students to connect to Wi-Fi as needed.

“It has been gratifying to support this project. Public safety around Dyett High School will be improved by this project while providing a template for how we should use opportunities to increase environmental sustainability of our local communities,” said King. “This public/private partnership also provides an opportunity to enhance exposure of STEM-based learning opportunities to our local students. In essence, the project is lighting the way to future career opportunities for our children and providing sustainable infrastructure for our local community.”

Part of ComEd’s Community of the Future, ComEd worked in collaboration with Bronzeville community leaders to address the neighborhood’s needs for more sustainable and reliable smart-grid technology through renewable energy.

ComEd will work with the administrations at Dyett and Perspectives schools to develop a STEM curriculum based on the technology and operations of the streetlights. This will help teachers engage students on the subject of solar energy generation and demonstrate how off-grid solar and wind energy and battery systems can be used to power streetlights – with real-world examples accessible just outside the schools.

“I am super excited to have the ARIS lights installed here at Dyett High School. All of our school stakeholders have wanted this for a very long time,” said McCoy. “This will make our campus grounds safe for all of our students, staff, parents and members of the community. This will also give our students the opportunity to explore careers in STEM. We are so appreciative of this opportunity. Thank you so much to everyone that made this possible.”

Through this new curriculum, students will learn about the auxiliary renewable power sources combining wind and solar energy that enables the streetlights to be operated and monitored remotely. With the streetlights right outside their classrooms, students will gain education and real-world examples of sustainable technology for their communities and their futures.

In 2019, ComEd partnered with CPS to pilot solar, wind and battery-powered lighting units at Beethoven Elementary School and Dunbar Vocational High School as part of its Bronzeville Community of the Future. Similar to the streetlights being installed at Dyett and Perspectives, these lighting units influence and inform STEM curricula at both schools, keep students and families safer, and contribute to the neighborhood's renewable energy goals.

Since 2016, ComEd has partnered with the Bronzeville neighborhood to create a greener, more connected and a more resilient community through innovative and renewable technologies. Through the STEM education programs for Bronzeville and Chicago-area high school students, students gain skillsets that prepare them for future careers in sustainable energy. ComEd announced in April that they are also expanding the Community of the Future to a second neighborhood in Rockford, Ill.

ComEd is a unit of Chicago-based Exelon Corporation (NASDAQ: EXC), a Fortune 200 energy company with approximately 10 million electricity and natural gas customers – the largest number of customers in the U.S. ComEd powers the lives of more than 4 million customers across northern Illinois, or 70 percent of the state’s population. For more information visit ComEd.com and connect with the company on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

ComEd Media Relations 312-394-3500

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