On Tuesday, March 14th, Rivers and Bluffs Animal Shelter held a ribbon cutting ceremony for their 23-kilowatt, newly constructed solar array. Rivers and Bluffs Animal Shelter is a non-for-profit organization that provides quality care for companion animals in need and educates the community about responsible pet ownership.

The project, installed by Olson Solar, consists of 54 solar panels and will produce over 24,000 kWh of annual energy. It is projected to offset approximately 97% of the animal shelter’s consumption.

This project marked Olson Solar’s first array to be installed on an animal shelter. “With an expected lifespan of 35-40 years, their system will produce more than $100,000 in energy savings,” said Michael Palen of Olson Solar Energy. “The clean renewable energy produced by their system is equivalent to saving over 46,000 gallons of gas!”

The decision to invest in the future of their shelter with solar was made possible due to a generous donation made in late 2021. This donation, coupled with the shelter’s continued increases in energy consumption, presented an opportune time to “go solar”.

“Anything we can do to reduce our operating costs is an example to all who support us that we are doing our part by investing wisely in our animal shelter,” said David Ralph, board member of Rivers and Bluffs Animal Shelter.

In addition to the donation, RENEW Wisconsin’s Solar for Good program provided Rivers and Bluffs Animal Shelter with a $5,000 grant to assist with the upfront costs of the solar array. The project also received funding assistance through Focus on Energy incentives.

“Renewable energy projects like these can be a huge help to the community,” said Sam Dunaiski, Executive Director of RENEW Wisconsin. “Rivers and Bluffs will be able to take the money saved on their utility bills and immediately redirect it into caring for animals in the community.”