J Ranck Electric Incorporated, an electrical contractor based in Mount Pleasant, Michigan, recently completed a project that installed a 913-solar-panel power system at Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium, the most-attended aquarium in the country. Shedd is a recognized leader in sustainability, conservation and education and is dedicated to protecting natural resources and ensuring a clean, healthy environment for future generations. 

Working under a master contract won by Innovates Solar, 
J. Ranck was selected as the electrical contractor for the photovoltaic system. The installation employed Schneider Electric’s end-to-end solar solution, including inverters and combiner boxes equipped with advanced technology elements to improve operations through real-time monitoring, statistics and performance indicator measurements.

Illinois public and private leaders united to bring this energy-efficiency system to the aquarium. The solar panels were installed in a unique circular configuration atop of the aquarium’s world-class marine mammal pavilion. The 265-kilowatt project became the biggest solar installation for any cultural institution in the state funded through a public-private partnership. 

The on-site renewable generation will help power life-­support equipment for the aquarium’s Great Lakes gallery, which showcases the region’s diverse native animals, including iconic lake sturgeon in a new touch-pool exhibit. In addition to reducing costs and enhancing the building’s energy reserve and powering various life support systems, the solar installation supports Shedd’s Great Lakes initiative to protect and preserve the lakes by reducing reliance on traditional energy sources. 

Inovateus Solar LLC, based in South Bend, Ind., has built some of the largest projects in the United States and the Caribbean. 

“Protecting and preserving the living world is at the heart of Shedd Aquarium, and we understand that conservation and sustainability begin at home in the aquarium,” said Ted A. Beattie, Shedd president and CEO. “Collaborative relationships fuel the actions needed to move the needle literally in terms of energy consumption. We’re grateful for the generous support from Gov. Pat Quinn, as well as our public and private partners, to help Shedd be among the first cultural institutions to adopt a comprehensive clean-energy model.”