Joliet Junior College to Increase Sustainable Solutions with New Solar Array

Joliet Junior College is adding a solar array at its Main Campus that will save on energy costs, increase sustainability efforts, and encourage future academic opportunities.

The JJC Board of Trustees on Dec. 12 approved a contract whereby Pivot Energy would install a 1.37 megawatt (MW) array. There are no out-of-pocket costs to JJC, which will initially pay a fixed discounted rate for the energy generated and take ownership of the panels after 10 years.  

“This solar installation just continues JJC’s long standing commitment to faculty, students, and staff in reducing energy costs to remain an affordable, quality institution,” said Pat Van Duyne, director of facility services.

Solar array
The solar array will be installed on the east side
of Main Campus adjacent to Centennial Road

JJC’s sustainability initiatives can be traced back to the 1970s - after the college moved to what is now Main Campus – when it implemented an Energy Savings Plan. Since 2000, JJC has completed over 50 sustainability projects, including opening multiple LEED certified buildings.

Pivot Energy has partnered with Joliet oncologist and philanthropist Dr. Sarode Pundaleeka to finance the solar array. After 10 years, Pundaleeka will donate the panels to JJC, producing an additional savings for the college. Over its lifespan, the solar array is projected to save the college more than $1.1 million.

Pundaleeka hopes some of these savings go towards preparing students for careers in clean energy and enables future research opportunities. Additionally, JJC Dean of Technical and Career Education Patty Zuccarello said this is an exciting time for renewable energy technology.

“According to the Illinois Solar Energy Association, there are 3,571 solar jobs in Illinois, and these opportunities are projected to increase in the coming years,” Zuccarello said. “Dr. Pundaleeka’s generous donation of this solar array will provide an on-campus learning tool for students that complements our existing sustainable installations such as the water collection system at the Greenhouse and the geothermal systems in our administrative and health professions buildings.”

Pivot Energy also intends to plant a pollinator forage around the panels using native grasses and forbs. This will support habitats for bees, butterflies, and other pollinators, plus aids in mitigating droughts and stormwater.

“Working with JJC and Dr. Pundaleeka to create clean energy jobs, provide significant cost savings, and renewable energy in Illinois is part of our triple bottom line mission of people, planet and profit,” said Pivot CEO Rick Hunter.  

Installation of the solar panels will take place in the spring on a 7 acre-plot just north of Centennial Drive, between Houbolt Road and Main Campus.

For media inquiries, contact Matthew Hargarten with Pivot Energy Communications at 414-745-8408 or or JJC Communications and Media Coordinator Scott Harvey at 815-280-2844 or

About Joliet Junior College

Founded in 1901, Joliet Junior College is the nation’s first public community college. JJC enriches people’s lives through affordable, accessible, and quality programs and services. The college provides transfer and career preparation, training and workforce development, and a lifetime of learning to the diverse community it serves. The college’s initial enrollment was six students; today, JJC serves more than 38,000 students in credit and noncredit courses.

About Pivot Energy

Pivot Energy is a Denver-based solar energy company that is focused on helping accelerate the rapid transition taking place in the energy industry to a grid that is more decentralized and cleaner. Pivot offers a distributed energy platform that includes a range of services and software aimed at serving the full commercial solar ecosystem, including retail customers, project developers, system operators, utilities, and financiers. The company develops, finances, builds, and manages community and commercial solar projects around the country. Pivot operates on a triple bottom line basis, measuring success by the positive impact to people, planet, and profit.