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Monday, June 15, 2009

Jefferson business turns to sun

From an article by Steve Sharp in the Watertown Daily Times:

JEFFERSON - Area dignitaries turned out by the dozens Thursday afternoon to salute and support Jefferson business leader Steve Lewis as he embarks on his quest to generate clean, solar energy. Part of Lewis' goal is to serve as an inspiration to others to undertake solar energy-capturing projects of their own.

Ninety-nine solar panels now sit atop the north roof of Lewis' Jefferson Area Business Center (JABC) and provide emission-free, sustainable energy by converting sunlight into electricity. The photovoltaic, renewable energy system is the largest commercial project of its kind in the county.

Thursday's reception at the JABC on Wisconsin Drive, just steps south of Highway 18, brought out a cross-section of community leaders, including Jefferson School District Superintendent Michael Swartz, Jefferson Mayor Gary Myers, city Administrator Tim Freitag, Jefferson County Board Chairwoman Sharon Schmeling and Watertown Daily Times Publisher Jim Clifford. Also in attendance were WPPI Energy President and CEO Roy Thilly, Emily Hickey from Focus on Energy and Al Dittmar of Carroll Electric.

“In making preparations for the project, my first analysis wasn't how much the system would produce but how much I could cut my electrical consumption, because the best electron is the electron that is not used,” Lewis told the crowd. He added the unique project is another example of his propensity to undertake business projects using his heart as a guide.

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