Dane County Regional Airport switches on largest solar project in Wisconsin

Dane County Executive Joe Parisi and Madison Gas and Electric (MGE) announced the 9-MW solar array at the Dane County Regional Airport is fully operational and delivering locally generated, sustainable energy to MGE’s distribution system. The array will generate enough carbon-free electricity to provide Dane County with about 40% of the energy used by all County-owned facilities. It is the largest solar array in Dane County and the largest installation in Wisconsin built for a single customer.

“MGE appreciates the County’s partnership in moving this project forward. It serves as a great example of how, by working together, we can advance shared energy goals, including MGE’s goal of net-zero carbon electricity for all our customers by 2050,” said MGE chairperson, president and CEO Jeff Keebler. “Travelers through the airport or along nearby Highway 51 will see this large array and know our community is committed to sustainability.”

“We are excited to reach completion on this historic, large-scale solar project,” said Dane County Executive Joe Parisi. “This solar array brings Dane County one step closer to achieving our commitment to becoming 100% renewable at County-owned facilities. These efforts benefit our environment, the local economy and Dane County taxpayers. We appreciate MGE’s partnership on this project and shared commitment to pursuing sustainable energy alternatives.”

The solar array consists of about 31,000 solar panels and covers 58 acres of County-owned land north of the airport. Dane County is leasing the land to MGE, and MGE will sell the energy to Dane County. In the spring, MGE will add pollinator plantings in certain areas of the array under the solar panels to boost pollinator habitat for dwindling monarch and honey bee populations.

Dane County is committed to significantly increasing the amount of its electric load serviced by renewable energy sources to achieve 100% renewable status for County facilities. Dane County currently uses more solar-generated electricity than any other county in the state. In addition to now purchasing 9 MW from the airport solar farm, Dane County generates over 600 kW of power at 16 County-owned facilities. This solar farm will be the third solar installation at the Dane County Regional Airport.

News item from MGE