Dane County helps Wisconsin's largest retail solar array
Joe Parisi, Executive of Dane County, and Madison Gas and Electric (MGE) say the 9 MW solar array at Dane County's regional airport is fully operational, delivering locally generated, sustainable energy to MGE's distribution system.
The array will generate enough carbon-free electricity to supply Dane County with approximately 40% of the energy used by all of the county-owned facilities. It is the largest solar array in Dane County and the largest in Wisconsin to be built for a single customer.
"MGE values the county’s partnership to advance this project," said Jeff Keebler, chairman, president and CEO of MGE. “It's a great example of how we can achieve common energy goals through shared goals, including MGE's goal to have zero carbon electricity for all of our customers by 2050. Travelers who drive through the airport or nearby Highway 51 will see this. Our community is committed to sustainability. "
The solar system consists of approximately 31,000 solar panels and comprises 58 acres of land owned by the county north of the airport. Dane County will lease the land to MGE and MGE will sell the energy to Dane County. In the spring, MGE will add pollinator plantings in specific areas of the array below the solar panels to improve the pollinator habitat for dwindling monarch and honeybee populations.
With MGE's Renewable Energy Rider (RER), MGE can work with a large energy consumer to tailor a renewable energy solution to the customer's energy needs. The county entered into an RER agreement with MGE that was approved by the Wisconsin Public Service Commission. RER customers are responsible for the costs associated with the renewable energy generation facility and any distribution costs for the delivery of energy to the customer.
The 30-year service contract calls for the county to purchase approximately 18 million kWh annually, resulting in energy savings of approximately $ 137,000 in the first year. There were no upfront capital requirements for Dane County.