Madison Gas and Electric (MGE) filed an application with the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSCW) for approval of a 20-MW solar array to be built in Fitchburg, Wisconsin. Known as the O’Brien Solar Fields, the project will provide locally generated solar energy to local businesses, municipalities and public institutions under MGE’s Renewable Energy Rider (RER).
“This is an exciting project for our participating customers and for MGE. 20 MW of locally generated, cost-effective carbon-free energy on our electric grid will help us achieve our goal of net-zero carbon electricity by 2050 and the sustainability goals of these customers,” said MGE chairman, president and CEO Jeff Keebler. “We are thankful for their support and their participation and look forward to bringing what will be one of the largest solar arrays in the state to Dane County.”
The array would help power the city of Fitchburg, the Wisconsin Department of Administration and a number of businesses through RER agreements. RERs enable MGE to partner with a large energy user to tailor a renewable energy solution to meet that customer’s energy needs. RER customers are responsible for costs associated with the renewable generation facility and any distribution costs to deliver energy to the customer.
“I am excited to have this project in Fitchburg. This is a fantastic location for a solar field, and I am excited the City of Fitchburg will be able to join an impressive list of customers using the energy produced by this project,” said Aaron Richardson, mayor of Fitchburg. “This will bring us closer to our renewable energy goals and our entire municipal leadership is thrilled to be a part of this project.”
“Last year, Governor Evers challenged us to have all electricity consumed within our state be 100% carbon-free by 2050,” said Department of Administration Secretary Joel Brennan. “The potential ability to not only receive local renewable energy for some of our state facilities but to also move the needle in mitigating the harm we are seeing from climate change is truly exciting and I am proud that we are able to be part of this proposal.”
EDF Renewables is the developer for the project, which will span approximately 160 acres and consist of about 66,000 solar panels. After construction, MGE will take over the solar fields from EDF and lease the land from the O’Brien family.
The cost of the project is estimated to be approximately $32 million. If approved, this will be the largest solar project in Dane County. Construction is expected to begin this year with the solar array generating electricity in 2021.