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Dane County partnering with MGE on huge solar project at airport

October 2, 2018

Dane County and Madison Gas and Electric are teaming up in the hopes of developing the largest solar installation in the county and one of the largest in Wisconsin.

Officials announced Monday that the Madison-based utility intends to build a solar installation on 41 acres at Dane County Regional Airport, with 20,000 solar panels expected to generate eight megawatts of power.

MGE would own the solar infrastructure and the county would use the power generated by the installation. The eight megawatts is about one-fourth of the energy used by all county-owned facilities, and three times the power generated at the largest solar facility currently in the region, a 2.25-megawatt facility in Rock County.

“This historic solar farm will help increase local clean-energy jobs, reduce carbon emissions and reduce the tax burden on Dane County residents through lower energy bills,” said County Executive Joe Parisi.

The county announced it was planning the solar farm in March. The site is on airport land just north of the airport itself.

The county already has two solar installations at the airport and a total of 15 solar installations, generating almost 600 kilowatts.

The project is proposed under MGE’s new Renewable Energy Rider, giving large energy users a chance to partner with the utility to tailor renewable energy to meet the customer’s needs, according to a news release.

“MGE welcomes the opportunity to partner, at the county’s request, on this solar project, and supports its efforts to achieve 100 percent renewable energy for its facilities,” said Jeff Keebler, MGE CEO and president.

The project will need approval by the Federal Aviation Administration and the Wisconsin Public Service Commission.

Construction is expected to start in 2019.

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