In what will become the largest solar electric project serving a Wisconsin municipality, the City of Monona approved a contract this week that will result in the construction of rooftop arrays supplying renewable energy directly to four city-owned buildings. All four solar systems, totaling 156 kilowatts, should be online by year’s end.
The four Monona buildings selected to host the solar electric arrays are: City Hall, Public Library, Public Works Garage, and Public Works Dept. Well No. 3. All told, the solar arrays will produce more than 210,000 kilowatt-hours of clean energy per year, equating to 30% of the buildings’ combined electricity usage.
The City will receive a stream of renewable energy credits along with the electrical output under a solar service partnership agreement with Falcon Energy Systems, a Colorado based investment group. Bloomington, MN-based tenKsolar will manufacture the solar generating arrays, and Madison-based Full Spectrum Solar will install and service the equipment on the city-owned sites. Earlier this month, tenKsolar and Full Spectrum Solar teamed up to install a 48 kilowatt system on the Arbor Crossing apartments in Shorewood Hills.
The project team was assembled by Solar Connections, LLC, a Madison consulting group that has also developed residential solar installations that were financed primarily by friends and neighbors of the host customer.
Consultants Kurt Reinhold and James Yockey first introduced this municipal solar model to the Sustainability Committee of the City of Monona in September of 2012, and has since been joined by Janine Glaeser, City Project Manager, to shepherd this project through numerous committees and hearings before Monday’s unanimous vote to adopt the resolution to enter into this solar services contract.
“Five years ago, Monona passed a resolution committing itself to greatly expand its own use of renewable energy by 2025,” said Kurt Reinhold, a principal with Solar Connections. “Not only will this partnership help Monona achieve its sustainable energy goals, it will also help the City save on its energy bills.”
“With this action, Monona joins the growing circle of Wisconsin businesses, communities and individuals committed to serving themselves with renewable energy produced on-site,” said Michael Vickerman, program and policy director of RENEW Wisconsin, a statewide renewable energy advocacy organization.
“Through their actions, forward-thinking entities like Monona will reduce Wisconsin’s dependence on imported fossil fuels in a way that creates jobs and invigorates the local economy,” Vickerman said.