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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Power of the Sun Rises on Dane County Airport


Michael Vickerman
RENEW Wisconsin
September 30, 2014

Craig Tarr of Energy Concepts at the Dane County Airport solar array
 
One of Wisconsin’s largest solar electric systems is now supplying clean renewable energy to the Dane County Regional Airport.   Online since late August, the 100 kilowatt array sits on the roof of the airfield’s new maintenance building, and will generate 50% of the electricity consumed at this two-story, 58,000-square-foot facility. The maintenance building is located on the southwest corner of the airfield.

Dane County Executive Joe Parisi (center) at the dedication ceremony on Thursday, September 25th.

Not only is Dane County’s solar project the largest owned by a Wisconsin local government, it is the largest serving an airfield in the Badger State. The system’s 376 panels are expected to generate 135,000 kilowatt-hours per year, the annual equivalent to the usage of 22 residences in Madison Gas & Electric territory.
Hudson, Wisconsin-based Energy Concepts designed and installed the $300,000 solar electric system.  Suniva, a Georgia company, manufactured the 65” x 39” panels. Each panel weighs 40 pounds. 
In its first 30 days of operation, Dane County’s solar electric system produced 13,270 kilowatt-hours, about 24% higher than engineering estimates, according to Energy Concept’s Craig Tarr, who designed the array and oversaw its installation.
The Federal Agency Administration provided 80% of the funding for the entire facility, including the solar electric array.  Dane County officials said the total installed cost of the airport was approximately $300,000, or $3.00 per watt.
Dane County’s solar array marks the eighth PV array installed in Wisconsin this year with a rated capacity of 100 kW or greater (see table below).  With the exception of Dairyland Power’s solar array were driven, all the projects listed below are either owned by a utility customer or are financially supported by self-selecting customers.  As of this moment, solar generating capacity in Wisconsin totals 18 megawatts, which is comparable to Minnesota’s solar presence.  

Customer-Supported Solar Generation in Wisconsin
Top 2014 installations


Installation Owner or Host
County
KW
Installer
Dairyland Power Cooperative
Vernon
    517
Clean Energy Collective/VEC
Vernon Electric Cooperative (VEC)1
Vernon
    305
Clean Energy Collective/VEC
Holy Wisdom Monastery
Dane
    1262
H&H Solar
AMI
Brown
    113
Eland Electric
Griffin Industries
Brown
    113
Eland Electric
Sisters of St. Francis
Brown
    112
Eland Electric
St. Croix Electric Cooperative3
St. Croix
    103
Unknown
Dane County Regional Airport
Dane
    100
Energy Concepts/ Steiner Electric
Barron Electric Cooperative4
Barron
      80
Carr Creek Electric
AMI
Brown
      53
Eland Electric
Bellin Health
Brown
      49
Eland Electric

1 Community solar garden supported by Vernon Electric Cooperative owner-members
2 The 126 kW added this year raises the overall capacity there to 146 kW
3 Community solar garden supported by St. Croix Electric Cooperative owner-members
4 Community solar garden supported by Barron Electric Cooperative owner-members

Links:

Photos of Dane County Airport’s PV array and the September 26, 2014, press conference.


Images of Dane County Regional Airport’s new maintenance facility.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/msnairport/sets/72157646736371339/

Wisconsin State Journal article (09-27-2014)