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Adult Opportunities

Powering Your Home with Solar Energy (in person)

Learn about ways to run your home on solar energy.

Content Detail

Find out how you can tap into solar energy at home, even if you have large shade trees. In this discussion with Illinois Solar Energy Association ambassador Jeff Gahris at The Morton Arboretum, you will learn

  • how solar energy works in Illinois,  
  • the benefits and challenges of residential solar energy,  
  • the upfront costs and long-term savings, including current financial incentives in Illinois,  
  • considerations for properties with shade trees, and  
  • resources for finding reputable installers.  

You’ll also learn about the growth of “community solar,” a solution for homeowners who want solar energy without installing residential panels. Jeff Gahris will be joined by the Arboretum’s director of sustainability, Rachel Novick, PhD, who will share information about the switch to solar energy at the Arboretum in 2023.  

This program meets in person at the Arboretum.  

Instructor: Jeff Gahris, Rachel Novick, PhD  

Health and Safety: Program participants must abide by the Arboretum’s health and safety guidelines. Guidelines are subject to change, so please check back frequently.   

Age: 16 and older  



Jeff Gahris, solar ambassador, Illinois Solar Energy Association  

Jeff Gahris’ interest in solar probably goes back to when he was a young boy who liked to play with electricity. A retired environmental engineer with a passion for protecting the environment for future generations, Gahris has been the commissioner for the DuPage County Forest Preserves since 2020. As an environmental advocate, he sees the value of solar energy as part of an environmentally and economically viable solution to America’s energy needs. Additionally, using solar increased his awareness of how he consumes electricity. He and his wife Bonnie have reduced electrical household demand substantially through energy efficiency and conservation measures.  

Rachel Novick, PhD, director of sustainability, The Morton Arboretum  

Rachel Novick, PhD, joined The Morton Arboretum in 2021 as its first director of sustainability. She is an LEED-accredited professional and has experience in many aspects of sustainability, including energy conservation, renewable energy development, and waste reduction. Prior to joining the Arboretum, Novick worked at the University of Notre Dame, where she co-founded the office of sustainability and later directed the undergraduate program in sustainability studies. She holds a master’s degree in forestry and environmental studies and a PhD in ecology and evolution, both from Yale University. 

This program meets outdoors.


Program Schedule

Monday, April 24, 2023, 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m

Thornhill Education Center


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