County Executive Joe Parisi joined Alliant Energy Vice President of Business Planning JP Brummond Nov. 5 to announce a new partnership to develop around 140 acres of county-owned land in the Town of Cottage Grove into a large-scale solar field.
This solar project is Dane County’s largest yet and will bring the county to its goal of being 100% renewable. In short, this project will result in the county producing more clean energy than the electricity it consumes at county-owned facilities.
“We are excited to partner with Alliant Energy on our largest solar project yet and become 100% renewable at our facilities. Achieving this milestone is a win-win, benefiting both the environment and Dane County taxpayers for many years to come,” said Dane County Executive Joe Parisi. “This installation will create local clean energy jobs and help combat climate change.”
This 16.5 MW solar field will include over 55,000 solar panels and produce more than 25,000 MWh of renewable electricity per year. That’s enough to power 3,000 Dane County homes. The renewable electricity generated from this new project will reduce greenhouse gas emissions in an amount equivalent to the emissions produced by over 3,800 vehicles or the burning of 20,000,000 pounds of coal per year.
“Alliant Energy is excited to collaborate with Dane County on a solar project that will provide our customers with renewable energy and support the clean energy goals of both of our organizations,” said JP Brummond, Alliant Energy Vice President of Business Planning. “The new facility represents another step toward our Clean Energy Vision and achieving our aspirational goal of net-zero carbon dioxide emissions from the electricity we generate by 2050.”
This solar project is expected to be nearly double the size of the soon-to-be constructed solar facility at the Dane County Regional Airport—a nine-megawatt (MW) project that will be the largest solar farm in Dane County. Pending County Board approval, the county will lease the 140-acre property to Alliant Energy. Once the project is completed, Alliant Energy will take the power generated from the project for its customers. Dane County will obtain the Renewable Energy Credits from the site, which will offset the county’s greenhouse gas and carbon dioxide emissions and help achieve its goals under the Climate Action Plan.
According to the Solar Foundation, an organization dedicated to advancing the use of solar and solar-compatible technologies, there were nearly 3,000 people employed in the solar industry in Wisconsin in 2019. Nearly 370 of those jobs were located in Dane County. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to hit the economy and cause job loss, Dane County is hopeful large-scale solar projects like the ones at the Dane County Regional Airport and the Dane County landfill will create much needed jobs in the community and help stimulate the local economy.
Dane County owns more solar than almost any other county in the state, generating more than 600 kilowatts (kW) of power at 16 county-owned facilities. In addition to the airport project, the County’s recent solar installations include a 179 kW project at the Dane County Job Center, a 222 kW installation at the East District Highway Garage, and 19 kW of capacity on the Dane County Library Service Building. An interactive “Clean Energy” map showcasing all of Dane County’s existing projects is accessible from the Dane County Office of Energy and Climate Change’s website at https://daneclimateaction.org/
A resolution to approve the lease to Alliant Energy for the development of this solar installation will be introduced to the Dane County Board at the Nov. 5 meeting. It is expected to be approved in the coming weeks.