MGE Proposing Major Solar Project in Fitchburg
Twenty-megawatt solar array will be largest in Dane County.
Madison, Wis., May 18, 2020 – Madison Gas and Electric (MGE) today filed an application with the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSCW) for approval of a 20-megawatt (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 innovative Renewable Energy Rider (RER).
O'Brien Solar Fields
- Proposed 20-MW solar array to be built in Fitchburg, Wis.
- Project proposed under MGE's Renewable Energy Rider.
- MGE partnering with six customers on the project.
- Partnership advances shared energy goals of MGE and participants.
- MGE targeting net-zero carbon electricity by 2050.
"This is an exciting project for our participating customers and for MGE. Twenty megawatts 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."
MGE is partnering with the following customers on this project through RER agreements.
City of Fitchburg
"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."
"Being one of the first customers to hop on board with MGE and convert some of our energy to the O’Brien Solar Fields is very exciting. As we continuously look to improve and reduce our carbon footprint, programs like this fully promote our company mission and a cleaner community for us to live in. We are proud to be a sustainability leader within the Madison, Wis., community and packaging industry,” said Jim Hart, Placon Engineering Manager.
"Promega is fortunate to be a part of such an advanced initiative for sustainable practices in our community. This array will provide over 8% of our current annual electrical consumption, complementing our current investment in solar photovoltaics on the roofs of five Promega buildings in Madison," explained Kevin Stefanczyk, Facilities Project Manager, Promega Corporation. "We appreciate the engineering accomplishment of generating carbon-free energy at this scale and are optimistic the O’Brien Solar Fields project will contribute to local momentum around engaging in more renewable resources."
University of Wisconsin-Madison
"By repurposing farmland for the solar array and creating a shared, educational space in our community, we would also be celebrating the connection between sustainability and the Wisconsin Idea," said Laurent Heller, Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration, University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Willy Street Co-op
"We were thrilled by the opportunity to grow our sustainability efforts by getting even more of our electrical needs through solar power," said Anya Firszt, Willy Street Co-op General Manager. "Willy Street Co-op has always been invested in our community; this is one way we can help make a cleaner world."
Wisconsin Department of Administration
"Last year, Governor Evers challenged us to have all electricity consumed within our state be 100% carbon-free by 2050," explained 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."
O'Brien Solar Fields
If approved, O'Brien Solar Fields will be located at the corner of Lacy Road and South Seminole Highway in Fitchburg. 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.
Renewable Energy Rider
Participating customers have entered into RER agreements, subject to regulatory approval, with MGE. 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. The innovative model grows clean energy in our community.
Net-zero carbon goal
MGE is targeting net-zero carbon electricity by 2050. In the near term, under MGE's Energy 2030 framework for a more sustainable future, MGE has been working toward carbon dioxide emissions reductions of at least 40% by 2030 from 2005 levels, which is consistent with U.S. emissions targets established as part of the Paris Agreement on climate change. To reach these goals, MGE is growing its use of renewable energy, engaging customers around energy efficiency and facilitating the electrification of transportation, all of which are key strategies identified by the United States for achieving deep decarbonization. Visit mge2050.com
to learn more.
MGE generates and distributes electricity to 155,000 customers in Dane County, Wis., and purchases and distributes natural gas to 163,000 customers in seven south-central and western Wisconsin counties. MGE's parent company is MGE Energy, Inc. The company's roots in the Madison area date back more than 150 years.