Dane County is one step closer to being Wisconsin’s first county government to achieve 100% renewable electricity status.
On Oct. 11, Dane County Executive Joe Parisi joined Alliant Energy and SunVest Solar executives to celebrate the installation of the first solar panels on a new 90-acre solar farm site on county-owned land in the Town of Cottage Grove. Construction of the Yahara Solar Project is scheduled to be completed later this year, resulting in the county reaching its goal of using 100% renewable electricity at its facilities, according to a county news release.
Achieving the initial 100% renewable electricity goal will also reduce the county’s emissions by 63% or 24,500 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents annually compared to 2020. Construction of the Yahara Solar Project began in June, and is creating around 70 jobs, according to the news release.
“Achieving our goal of powering our buildings with 100% renewable electricity is a win-win in our climate change fight and work to deliver local family-sustaining wage jobs,” Parisi said.
The 17-megawatt (MW) solar project will produce more than 36 million kilowatt-hours of renewable electricity per year — enough to power more than 3,000 Dane County homes and reduce greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those produced by more than 5,000 vehicles.
Its 33,000 solar panel array produces energy from both sides of the panel, increasing energy production as sunlight reflects off the ground – especially when snow-covered – and as they move to track the sun throughout the day.
Alliant Energy will deliver the generated solar power to its customers, with the county receiving the renewable energy credits in return for leasing out the land. Those credits will offset the county’s greenhouse gas emissions without any increase in energy costs, helping achieve the goal of 100% renewable electricity by 2025, two years ahead of schedule, according to the news release.
The project also contributes to the broader goal of cutting countywide emissions in half by 2030 under its Climate Action Plan.
“Solar energy is one way we’re acting for tomorrow to reduce carbon emissions while generating environmentally friendly energy long into the future,” said JP Brummond, Vice President of Customer and Community Engagement at Alliant Energy.
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