The new eight-story KONE Centre at 101 17th St., Moline, is now home to the third largest "distributed solar panel installation" in Illinois.|
The 1,300 solar panels atop the building's parking garage will produce about 400,000 kilowatt hours annually, or about about one-third of KONE Centre's annual energy needs, according to Rodney Blackwell, the principal of Financial District Properties K.P., the developer of KONE Centre.
The $3 million project was completed recently by SoCore Energy, the largest solar developer in Illinois.
"This just shows that it's now possible to effectively construct buildings that conserve energy," said Mr. Blackwell on Monday. He said the project was funded partially by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. All parts used in construction of the array were made in America, he said.
Mr. Blackwell said the project required the engineering and design of a very complex steel structure on top of the parking deck to accommodate the solar panels.
Pete Kadens, president of SoCore Energy, said the KONE project is unique because each individual solar panel has its own micro inverter, making it one of the world's largest micro inverter installations.
The micro inverters convert direct current, or energy from the sun, to alternating current, which is the energy that ultimately powers the building. Solar-powered buildings usually have one central inverter that converts the energy from all of the panels.
Mr. Kadens said solar-powered buildings are likely to become more common in the Quad-Cities.
"As the cost of solar is going down, I think solar power has the ability to catch on and will definitely play a role in the future of energy savings in the area."
Mr. Blackwell said he believes this project will influence building construction even outside of the region.
"I feel that we set the bar not only for our community but for the rest of our country when it comes to looking at ways to conserve energy," said Mr. Blackwell.
Moline, IL Details
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