Success Stories

Solar Panels on a Building

Kankakee Community College is Leading the Way in Promoting Solar Energy

Kankakee Community College created Power Pack Kankakee to educate homeowners and businesses on the benefits of solar energy. In partnership with the Midwest Renewable Energy Association, they are helping to create a sustainable local market for solar energy by:

  • Establishing a customer base for local solar installers.
  • Facilitating lower cost solar installation for customers.
  • Supporting U.S. solar equipment manufacturers.

Recent efforts that support these goals include:

  • KCC has recently received $20,000 funding from the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) to help the Lorenzo R. Smith Sustainability and Technology Academy acquire and have their students install a photovoltaic array. The 2015 solar PV class will be installing this array on June 13th as part of their student capstone project. This program will train students, raise awareness in the community and supplement the school’s utility usage.
  • On August 20th, 2012 KCC was awarded a grant from the National Science Foundation to train students for jobs in the emerging industry of renewable energy technology called C4: Community Colleges Confronting the Conundrum; A job market transformation model for solar energy technician training. C4 is a replicable renewable energy job market transformation model for community colleges in the Midwest to incorporate into their RE technician programs.
  • On July 7th, 2014, Kankakee Community College received $5 million from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity to build a renewable energy center on its Riverfront Campus. When it’s complete, the 21,000 square foot Advanced Technological Education Center (ATEC), will contain classrooms, labs, offices, and support spaces. It will provide hands-on technical training in wind generation, solar thermal, solar photo-voltaic systems, and electrical (National Electric Code NEC) instruction. The addition is being designed to meet or exceed requirements for the US Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environment Design (LEED) Gold certification.

Their efforts have been highly recognized by American leaders:

  • On October 22, 2013, the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) honored national award winners for the Best of 2013 in renewable energy and energy efficiency at an awards ceremony on the show floor at Solar Power International. Professor Tim Wilhelm of Kankakee Community College received the 2013 Interstate Renewable Energy Council Award in the category of Clean Energy Trainer of the Year.
  • On May 09, 2014 President Obama announced more than 300 private and public sector commitments to create jobs and cut carbon pollution by advancing solar deployment and energy efficiency. Kankakee Community College’s training program was on this list.
  • Kankakee Community College was awarded the 2014 IREC Accredited Clean Energy Training Providers of the Year.