The solar system: Advocates say solar still a good bet for businesses

One of two Solar America Cities in Wisconsin, Madison has attracted a cluster of businesses, consultants and supporters working to light up the local economy with the power of the sun. InBusiness Greater Madison Editorial Director Joe Vander Plas interviews the people that are leading the solar power shift in Madison, including Full Spectrum Solar Director Burke O’Neal, American Family Insurance Facilities Director Mark Pauls, City of Madison Facilities and Sustainability Director Jeanne Hoffman, RENEW Wisconsin Program and Policy Director Michael Vickerman, Sustain  Dane Interim Executive Director Jessie Lerner, Willy Street Co-op Operations Director Wynston Estis and Kate Schachter of Union Cab.

Full Spectrum Solar Storefront
Full Spectrum Solar | Photo Credit: InBusiness Magazine

“Despite fewer incentives for installing solar energy systems, advocates say it’s still a good bet for businesses- and getting better all the time.” –  InBusiness Greater Madison

New solar park to be built in Jefferson

Some excellent news out of Jefferson today. A new solar project totaling 1 megawatt of power generated over a seven-acre site. Read the article in the Daily Union below:

JEFFERSON — The City of Jefferson Common Council got a glimpse of a bright future Tuesday as developers took a first glimpse at the soon-to-be-completed solar farm on the city’s north side. 

Representatives of Half Moon Ventures, a Chicago-based company that recently purchased the development, presented plans to the council for a renewable energy production facility slated to begin construction three years after talk of a solar field first got under way. 

Green States Energy, a Florida-based company, approached the city in summer 2010 with plans to build a 100-acre solar energy farm on city-owned property that would produce 20 megawatts of electricity. That project was slated to be completed by late 2011 or early 2012.
Although construction on that project never moved forward, earlier this summer, Half Moon Ventures, which maintains a Milwaukee office, purchased a 100-percent interest in the project, gaining complete control over the future development. It intends to construct a seven-acre solar park housing 3,600 solar panels to produce 1 megawatt of electricity. 

It is scheduled to open in December. 

“We have entered into a supplemental agreement with Half Moon Ventures, and that supplemental agreement … also established the lease commencement date as today, Sept. 17,” said City Administrator Tim Freitag. “Earlier this evening, Kevin (Hirsch, Half Moon Ventures chief financial officer) provided a check in the amount of about $123,000 to the City of Jefferson for a 20-year prepaid lease.” 

Hirsch said Half Moon, which bills itself as a “pioneer in renewable energy project development,” will approach the project from a financial angle rather than as a construction or engineering challenge. 

“Renewable large projects today are chiefly a financing project to produce energy at the lowest possible cost with a renewable resource,” he said. “We were very excited to see this project come in front of us, and we only wish it were 20 Megawatts, as we told Tim countless times. But we still think this can be a wonderful project for the city and I hope you guys will see that, as well.”…


Dane County and Gundersen Health System Break Ground on Second Cow Power Facility

A unique partnership will soon turn cow waste from farms into renewable energy in the Dane County area thanks to a unique partnership between Dane County and Gunderson Health System. Read the press release below for more information.

Three-Farm Community Manure Digester Will Produce Cleaner Energy, Keep Twice the Amount of Phosphorus Out of Area Lakes 

DANE COUNTY, WI — Construction of the county’s second Cow Power project has begun, paving the way for cleaner lakes and enough clean electricity to power 2,500 homes, Dane County Executive Joe Parisi announced at a groundbreaking ceremony today.  

Surrounded by rolling hills, happy cows, and with construction equipment poised to begin work, County Executive Parisi was joined for the historic event by Gundersen Health System executives, dairy farmers, and state and local officials at the Ziegler Dairy Farm west of Middleton. 

“Today is an exciting day for Dane County that was made possible through years of hard work and a historic partnership between government, the private sector, and local farmers,” said Parisi.  “Our second Cow Power digester will help clean up our lakes, generate home-grown renewable energy, and keep our farm families farming for generations to come.”


Marquette County board approves biogas pipeline

A biogas pipeline in Central Wisconsin is one step closer to realization after the Marquette County Board of Supervisors approved its installation. See the Portage Daily Register’s article for more information.

MONTELLO — The Marquette County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to adopt a resolution approving the installation of a biogas pipeline within certain county road right-of-ways from the New Chester Dairy to Brakebush Brothers Inc.  

Gas would be extracted from manure at the New Chester Dairy in Grand Marsh and sent via the pipeline to the Brakebush Brothers plant near Westfield to be used for electricity. 

At its previous meeting, the board voted to delay its vote on the resolution until the company could answer some community members’ concerns.


County to secure final agreements necessary to begin construction of second cow power facility

From the office of Joe Parisi, Dane County Executive:

Funding, Partnerships Secured to Begin Project in Coming Weeks in Town of Springfield

MADISON — Construction of Dane County’s second “Cow Power” facility is set to begin in the coming weeks as final agreements needed for the project are slated to be approved this evening, Dane County Executive Joe Parisi announced today.

Pending approval by the Dane County Board at their meeting tonight, the agreements will secure $3.3 million in previously-awarded grant funding from the state to help finance construction of the digester just outside of Middleton. The agreements also formalize private ownership and operations of the facility with Gundersen Health System.