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Dane County plans 16.5MW solar array to reach 100% green energy goal

Dane County officials announced a deal with Alliant Energy on Thursday to build a 16.5-megawatt solar farm that would help provide all the energy the county uses every year.

Under the deal, the county would develop the new solar array on 140 acres of county-owned land in the town of Cottage Grove. The job would be the county’s largest solar project and would help offset with clean energy the power that county operations now use.

Dane County in April purchased the future site of the solar farm, and plans to lease the property to Alliant in exchange for renewable-energy credits. The Dane County Board will consider a resolution backing the deal on Thursday.

“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,” Dane County Executive Joe Parisi said in a statement. “This installation will create local clean energy jobs and help combat climate change.”

The solar array would be made up of 55,000 solar panels and would produce enough energy each year to power 3,000 homes. The project is roughly double the size of the next-largest solar array in Dane County — a planned 9 megawatt array at the Dane County Airport.

The county now owns a number of other smaller arrays. Among them are a 179 kilowatt project at the Dane County Job Center and a 222 kilowatt installation at the East District Highway Garage. The county, in all, owns 16 solar arrays that generate about 600 kilowatts of power combined.

JP Brummon, Alliant Energy vice president of business planning, said in a statement that the array will help increase demand for solar projects, helping the utility toward its goal of achieving net-zero carbon-dioxide emissions by 2050.

“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,” Brummond said.

About Nate Beck, nbeck@dailyreporter.com

Nate Beck is The Daily Reporter's construction staff writer. He can be reached at (414) 225-1814 (office) or 414-388-5635 (mobile).

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