As part of a partnership with the University of Wisconsin-Parkside, WE Energies is leasing approximately 10 acres of land east of the Facilities Management building to construct and operate a 2.25 Megawatt ground-mounted solar array for energy generation. The energy generated by the array will be sent back to the WE Energies electrical grid and will generate enough energy to power approximately 400 homes.
This ambitious project is the product of months of negotiations. Construction is currently underway and is expected to be completed by the end of the summer of 2020, and the array is anticipated to be operational in the fall of 2020.
“About 12 months ago we began having conversations with WE Energies about the possibility of renewable energy alternatives for UW Parkside,” said John Bruch, Director of Facilities Management at
UW-Parkside. “WE Energies laid out 2 options for solar power generation for us to consider. The
University reviewed the options and settled on a program called Solar Now as the best option for UW
WE Energies is responsible for the design, construction, and ongoing maintenance costs associated with the solar array. This will come at no cost to the UW System. Also, during the course of the next 30 years, the campus will receive an annual lease payment from WE Energies. This will be used to help pursue other sustainable energy alternatives.
“The solar array is a great opportunity for UW Parkside to support WE Energies on renewable energy generation. The proceeds from the lease will be used on campus to help fund sustainable initiatives. The solar array site will offer opportunities for faculty and students on campus to research the effects of such an array on the surrounding ecosystem,” said Bruch.
After being approved in late 2018, the Solar Now Program has been quite popular throughout the state. It is expected that this project will be a significant boon to the state and help bring Wisconsin reduce its carbon footprint significantly.
“Approving a WE Energies plan to construct, operate and maintain a solar panel array at UW-Parkside aligns with other initiatives to enhance environmental sustainability in our region,” Scott Menke, Parkside’s Vice Chancellor of Finance and Administration, said in a statement. “Dedicating the area to green energy will pay dividends for years to come.”