- Associated Press - Wednesday, August 19, 2015

JOLIET, Ill. (AP) - A Joliet business that offers virtual imaging technology is going green and clean with solar power covering much of its electricity needs.

Future Diagnostics Group unveiled recently the solar panel technology that covers most of the roof and parking lots of the building at 254 Republic Ave.

Solar modules absorb the sunlight - even under cloudy conditions - to produce about 40 percent of the energy the medical facility uses. The rest is covered by electrical grid power.

Sarode Pundaleeka, president of Joliet Oncology-Hematology Associates, which developed Future Diagnostics Group, said it’s not common for medical facilities to have solar power but it’s good “the government is pushing for it.” He said Future Diagnostics Group receives 30 percent in tax credits for using solar technology.

He said countries, such as Germany and China, are leaders in solar power technology.

“If those two countries can do that, why not us?” he said.

Future Diagnostics Group’s solar power project began three years ago, and Microgrid Energy helped with the design and construction. The facility has run on solar power for the past six weeks, Pundaleeka said.

Visitors who come to the medical facility will see the parking lots roofed with solar modules that power the building.

Jeff Miller, Microgrid Energy project manager, said the modules absorb the sunlight and convert it to direct current - or the unidirectional flow of an electric charge - and then is able to convert that energy to alternate current. He said medical facilities, such as Future Diagnostics Group, use a “ton of energy.”

“The whole idea is to reduce the carbon footprint and benefit the community in general,” Miller said.

Microgrid Energy is looking for more small businesses and landowners to help implement solar technology, said Kacie Peters, Microgrid Energy regional sales manager.

She said Illinois lawmakers have proposed legislation to increase energy efficiency and reduce carbon pollution that, if passed, would create more opportunities for solar power use such as the one at Future Diagnostics Group.

“The more people see solar, the more power they see it as feasible,” she said.

Future Group Diagnostics, founded in 2002, offers outpatient imaging services such as digital mammography and virtual colonoscopies. Pundaleeka said the transition to solar power has been seamless for the medical staff.

“It all goes smooth as silk,” said Greg Ostrowski, a radiologist at the facility.

Will County Executive Larry Walsh Sr. and Joliet Mayor Bob O’Dekirk came Tuesday to show their support. Both were impressed by the new additions to the medical facility.

“It’s a wonderful initiative. . It’s great for the environment and the local economy,” O’Dekirk said.

Pundaleeka said both Joliet and Morris branches of Joliet Oncology-Hematology Associates also intend to make use of solar power technology in the future.

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Source: The (Joliet) Herald-News, https://bit.ly/1LyKEfo

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Information from: The Herald-News, https://www.suburbanchicagonews.com/heraldnews


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