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MGE completes Fitchburg solar farm; 20MW project powering local businesses, governments

MGE completes Fitchburg solar farm; 20MW project powering local businesses, governments

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O'Brien Solar Fields

The 20-megawatt O'Brien Solar Fields along Seminole Highway in Fitchburg is providing clean energy to local businesses and governments. It is the largest solar farm to date in Dane County, though regulators are considering another project 15 times as large.

Madison Gas and Electric has completed work on Dane County’s largest solar farm to date, which will provide clean energy to local governments and businesses.

MGE President Jeff Keebler said the $31.7 million O’Brien Solar Fields in Fitchburg demonstrates that the utility can work with customers to reduce carbon emissions in a cost-effective way.

MGE has contracts with the state of Wisconsin, UW-Madison, the city of Fitchburg and local businesses Placon Corp., Promega Corp., Tribe 9 Foods and the Willy Street Co-op to buy the project’s energy output.

While each contract is unique, customers will pay initial rates of about 6 to 7 cents per kilowatt hour for solar energy, with some variability, and will receive renewable energy credits for their share of the generation.

MGE projects revenue from the contracts will cover the cost of the project over 30 years while generating a 10.3% return on equity.

Company and local leaders say the project is helping them cut carbon emissions.

Fitchburg Mayor Aaron Richardson said the project will allow the city to meet 40% of its operational needs with renewable energy, surpassing the goal of 25% by 2025.

“This is a monumental moment for Tribe 9 Foods — and I don’t say that lightly,” said Brian Durst, chairman and CEO of Tribe 9 Foods. “With the addition of the O’Brien Solar Fields, our company will be powered 100% by renewable energy in Madison.”

The 20-megawatt field sits on about 160 acres near Seminole Highway and Lacy Road.

It is the largest solar farm built in Dane County, though regulators are now evaluating a proposal to build one 15 times as large in the southeastern corner of the county.

That project, known as Koshkonong Solar, would include 300 megawatts of solar panels on about 2,400 acres north of Interstate 90 in the towns of Christiana and Deerfield coupled with a 165-megawatt battery.

MGE and WEC Energy Group are seeking to purchase the project for a combined $649 million.


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