Installation work began this week on five streetlights at Walter H. Dyett High School for the Arts in the Washington Park neighborhood, and two streetlights at Perspectives Academy Project in the Bronzeville neighborhood.
The streetlights, manufactured by ARIS Renewable Energy, feature auxiliary power sources that combine wind and solar energy, battery storage and a self-powered internet connection that enables them to be operated and monitored remotely. Because the streetlights use more reliable and sustainable power, they help provide safe passage to students and local residents. The streetlights are part of ComEd's Bronzeville Community of the Future, which uses smart grid technology to address the community needs of Bronzeville, while developing interests and skills among students in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math).
"In the spirit of our Community of the Future, this project is a true collaboration with ComEd, CPS and members of the communities that ComEd is privileged to serve," said Michelle Blaise, senior vice president of technical services, ComEd. "Our goal is to leverage the strengths of these partnerships to bolster sustainability, resiliency and connectedness in our neighborhoods."
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.
"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 Chicago Fourth Ward Alderman Sophia 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."
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.