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Monday, February 23, 2009

Stimulus bright spot: renewable energy

From an article by Tom Content in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
Johnson Controls has begun generating electricity from the largest solar power system in the state - nearly 1,500 panels erected on the northeast corner of the company's headquarters campus in Glendale.

The solar power system is part of the $73 million renovation and rehabilitation of the headquarters campus and power solutions businesses for the state's largest company - and will be a showpiece for Johnson Controls as it tries to persuade customers to incorporate renewable energy into their buildings.

Power began generating this month after We Energies commissioned the solar system, said Don Albinger, vice president of renewable energy solutions at Johnson Controls.

The expansion of solar power is timely, coming as the stimulus package was signed into law. Energy experts are marveling at the array of tax benefits aimed at bringing more renewable energy online quickly, such as provisions that provide federal loan guarantees and accelerated depreciation for renewable projects.

"In these dismal times, we've got to look for some bright spots, and to me a great bright spot is the stuff that's involved with renewable energy in that stimulus bill," said Art Harrington, an energy lawyer with Godfrey & Kahn in Milwaukee.

Godfrey hosted three meetings across the state this week that drew about 500 businesspeople looking to learn more about economic opportunities created by the stimulus law, Harrington said.

"My advice to clients is to get knowledgeable on this stimulus bill," he said. "Get knowledgeable quickly and then follow the money."

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