Solar panels

A solar panel installation in Elroy, one of five rural energy solar projects getting financial support from the city of Madison. In mid-June, the first of the projects will begin operations in Argyle.

The first of five new rural solar energy projects getting financial support from the city of Madison will begin operations in Argyle by mid-June, city officials said.

The city, in partnership with BluEarth Renewables and OneEnergy Renewables, is investing $1.4 million to support the five new solar array projects, which will cost a total $18 million and increase in-state solar capacity by 15%, the Engineering Division said.

The four other solar projects will be installed in Cumberland, Elroy, Fennimore and New Lisbon this summer.

The five projects will add 40,000 solar panels to the region and produce enough electricity to power 2,500 average households, the Engineering Division said. Also, the projects have been designed to establish more than 50 acres of pollinator-friendly habitat, which will be planted beneath the solar arrays.

The city’s investment supports its renewable energy goals, included in the “100% Renewable Madison Report.” In March, the City Council approved a resolution that calls upon the city to use 100% renewable energy for all city operations by 2030, and for the entire Madison community by 2050. The five solar projects advance the city’s progress toward those goals, the Engineering Division said.

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In making the investment, the city will get renewable energy credits created by the projects to offset city carbon usage. The city is pursuing multiple initiatives to meet its renewable energy goals.

OneEnergy Renewables designed and developed the five solar projects, and BluEarth Renewables acquired all five projects in December 2018. BluEarth began construction of the projects in January and will own and operate the projects over their expected 25-year life.

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