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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Ho-Chunk Tomah agency building switches to solar

From an article by Paul Medinger in the Jackson County Chronicle:

The Ho-Chunk Housing and Community Developing Agency building in Tomah has made a switch to solar power.

HHCDA Executive Director Mark Butterfield said that the solar power for the facility at 1116 E. Monowau St. was expected to be up and running Monday after 39 solar panels were installed on the roof of the building last Wednesday and Thursday.

“The switch will be thrown on Monday,” Butterfield said. “This is all part of a pilot project.”

The 39 solar panels were installed by H & H Solar of Madison, and will generate nearly enough electricity to power the entire building. The project is funded through grant money from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Butterfield said that the project will also receive approximately a 25-percent rebate from Focus on Energy. The HHCDA will also be credited 25 cents per kilowatt hour through Alliant Energy, which will provide about $2,500 per year.

Butterfield said that the system likely will pay for itself in 12 years. The cost of the project before the rebate is $77,000. Butterfield said that the switch is also part of the green energy movement, and he hopes that four other HHCDA facilities in Nekoosa, Wisconsin Dells, Black River Falls and the Blue Wing Village will make the switch to solar power in the future.

“We hope to eventually reduce all of (the facilities) to zero net energy,” Butterfield said. “Part of the whole plan is to save money. If we don’t spend it on the annual (electricity) expenses, we can put more money into housing.”

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