Holy Wisdom Monastery is now Madison Gas and Electric’s largest solar-producing customer following the recent installation of 463 solar panels on its property in north Middleton.
The panels, installed by H & H Electric, boost Holy Wisdom’s solar-generating capacity from roughly 20 kilowatt hours to more than 145 kilowatt hours.
Solar energy will now account for 60 percent of the monastery building’s energy use, or roughly 45 percent of the combined energy use by the retreat, guest house and monastery building, according to Mark Hanson, director of sustainable services with Hoffman Planning, Design and Construction, which donated the solar planning services.
“In keeping with our care for the earth values, this opportunity helps us get closer to our ultimate goal of providing 100 percent of our energy needs from one-site renewable energy systems,” said Sister Mary David Walgenbach, the prioress of Benedictine Women of Madison with Holy Wisdom Monastery. “Our Benedictine values call us to do what we can to conserve precious natural resources on this earth.”
Holy Wisdom Monastery received a roughly $47,000 grant through the Wisconsin Focus on Energy program. Additional financial support was made possible through Monona State Bank and a small group of Madison-based renewable energy investors.
The sisters of Holy Wisdom Monastery will be the sole owners of the solar panels in 15 years.