Madison, Wis. – City of Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway pushed a switch into the “on” position outside the Madison Metro Transit bus garage Tuesday morning, signifying the official start of operations for a new solar panel array on the building’s roof.
“I think it’s really, really important that the City of Madison lead the way in demonstrating how solar energy can be not only a climate-positive thing, but also a fiscally responsible thing to do and a jobs-training program that builds our local economy,” Mayor Rhodes-Conway said before flipping the switch.
The 119-kilowatt system represents phase one of a larger solar installation planned atop the building at 1101 East Washington Avenue. This first phase alone is expected to generate 450,413 kilowatt hours of electricity each year, saving the City $14,695 annually.
“As we start next year to add electric buses to our fleet, they will benefit from solar energy, as well,” the mayor pointed out.
“We’re just proud. This is an exciting day for us,” added Tom Lynch, City Director of Transportation.
This solar project is the largest to date installed through the City of Madison’s Green Power initiative, a program that trains participants for careers in the solar power industry as they install solar panels at City facilities.
It also marks the latest collaboration between the City and FOCUS ON ENERGY®, Wisconsin’s energy efficiency and renewable resources program. Focus on Energy presented the mayor with a ceremonial check for more than $33,000 at the Tuesday morning event celebrating the new solar array. The money is a financial incentive for the City’s investment in reducing energy waste and it covers a little more than one-tenth of the system’s overall cost.
“Madison has been a fantastic participant in this program, not only on the solar energy and renewables side, but also other types of projects like upgrading light bulbs and HVAC equipment that provide energy savings through efficiency.”
Calculations by energy experts estimate the system, over its lifetime, will save more than 3.7 million kilowatt hours of electricity. That’s the carbon dioxide equivalent of 2.9 million pounds of coal burned.
Focus on Energy partners with 106 Wisconsin utilities, including Madison Gas & Electric. Residential, business and other customers of those utilities are eligible for the energy expertise and financial incentives the Program offers.
A third-party evaluation noted Wisconsin runs the most cost-effective energy efficiency programs in the nation. It also found every $1 invested in Focus on Energy generates more than $5 in benefits for Wisconsin, including economic benefits, reduced pollution and reduced energy costs.
About Focus on Energy
Focus on Energy is Wisconsin utilities' statewide energy efficiency and renewable resource program funded by the state's investor-owned energy utilities and participating municipal and electric cooperative utilities. Focus on Energy works with eligible Wisconsin residents and businesses to install cost-effective energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. Focus on Energy information, resources and financial incentives help to implement projects that otherwise would not be completed. Its efforts help Wisconsin residents and businesses manage rising energy costs, promote in-state economic development, protect our environment and control Wisconsin's growing demand for electricity and natural gas. For more information call 800.762.7077 or visit focusonenergy.com.
Photo: Focus on Energy's Joel Roltgen presents ceremonial check to Mayor Rhodes-Conway at Tuesday's ceremony in Metro Transit's bus garage.