Yahara Solar Project
The Yahara Solar Project is Dane County's largest renewable energy project to date. The Dane County government in Wisconsin partnered with Alliant Energy, SunVest Solar, and Pieper Electric to become the 4th county in the U.S. to operate on 100% renewable offset electricity.
SunVest designed and developed the 90-acre solar farm site on county-owned land in the Town of Cottage Grove, a suburb east of Madison. The Yahara Solar Project will reduce climate-changing greenhouse gas emissions – equivalent to taking 5,000 cars off the road. The 17-megawatt solar project will produce more than 36 million kilowatt-hours of renewable electricity annually to power more than 3,000 Dane County homes. The 33,000 solar panel array utilizes bifacial modules producing a staggering 650 watts. The panels produce energy from both sides of the panel, increasing energy production as sunlight reflects off the ground, even when covered in snow! ATI DuraTrack HZ trackers follow the sun throughout the day to maximize production.
Alliant Energy will deliver the power to its customers, and Dane County will receive renewable energy credits (RECs) in return for leasing the land. Under an innovative deal structure, SunVest Solar leases the land from the County and makes payments in renewable energy credits (RECs). This arrangement allows the County to reach its renewable energy goals for decades without increasing energy costs. The RECs will offset the County’s greenhouse gas emissions, helping it achieve its goal of 100% renewable electricity two years ahead of schedule. The project also contributes to the County’s broader goal of cutting countywide emissions in half by 2030 under its Climate Action Plan.
Pieper Electric – headquartered in New Berlin, Wisconsin – was the installation contractor working with multiple local trade unions. The Yahara Solar Project’s construction relied on the skilled work and craftsmanship of local union-operating engineers, carpenters, laborers, and electricians. The solar project created approximately 70 jobs during peak construction.
“The Yahara Solar Project, and all of our renewable energy projects across our footprint, diversify energy generation on the grid so it more reliably delivers energy when our customers need it most,” said JP Brummond, Vice President of Customer and Community Engagement for Alliant Energy.