City of Madison Turns on Solar Array
Madison Gas and Electric
Event Marks Latest Collaboration between the City and Focus on Energy
Madison, Wis. – The City of Madison celebrated its latest rooftop solar array on Thursday when Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway flipped the switch to officially put it online.
The Goodman Park maintenance facility became the 23rd building to which the City has added rooftop solar arrays. Through solar power, Madison has already saved nearly four million kilowatt hours of electricity, enough to meet the electric needs of about 500 homes.
As it has for the previous solar projects, FOCUS ON ENERGY® provided a financial incentive to help offset the initial cost of the City’s investment at the Goodman Park facility. Joel Roltgen, an Energy Advisor with Focus on Energy, hand-delivered a ceremonial check for $11,250 to Mayor Rhodes-Conway at Thursday’s event.
“[Focus on Energy] is a great Program,” the mayor said after accepting the check. “If folks don’t know about it, I would encourage everybody to find out what it can do for you in terms of energy savings.”
Focus on Energy, Wisconsin’s energy efficiency and renewable resources program, has worked with the city on more than 40 projects over the past two years, from solar arrays to LED lighting upgrades to the energy-efficient design of new buildings.
The Goodman Park maintenance facility marks the 12th solar installation Madison has completed through its GreenPower program. Administered through the City of Madison Engineering Division, the GreenPower program provides paid classroom and on-the-job installation training to prepare participants for jobs in the rapidly-growing solar energy industry.
Trainee Sarah Burns, an undergraduate studying industrial engineering, worked on the Goodman Park project.
“We install solar panels. We run wire. We run conduit. I’ve learned a lot in this training program,” Burns said. “This project and being a part of this team has really reinforced my hopes and my efforts and my dreams to continue to work on sustainability.”
“We are teaching folks who are interested in careers in engineering, in electrical engineering, in solar, in renewable energy … we’re helping to prepare folks for those careers,” added Mayor Rhodes-Conway.
Both Burns and the mayor pointed out the contributions of Matt Parks, a master electrician at Madison’s Engineering Division who works with GreenPower trainees. Parks explained that he believes in the financial soundness of solar energy.
“Solar modules, you buy once [and] you put them on the roof, and if you install them correctly in the right spot, they can go 20 [to] 40 years without any maintenance at all. Pretty cool,” he said.
Over their lifespan, the solar modules on at the Goodman Park maintenance facility are estimated to save the City $8,391.40 a year in avoided energy costs.
The City of Madison is an electric customer of Madison Gas & Electric, one of the 107 Wisconsin utilities that fund and partner in the Focus on Energy Program.
A recent third-party evaluation revealed Wisconsin runs the most-cost-effective energy efficiency programs in the nation, in terms of energy savings per dollar spent. The same evaluation found every $1 invested in Focus on Energy generates $5 in benefits for Wisconsin, including economic benefits, reduced energy costs and reduced pollution.
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: Solar panels at Goodman Park Maintenance Facility