Madison Gas and Electric partners with UW-Madison for major clean energy project.

Madison Gas and Electric creates renewable energy solutions for their customers through their Renewable Energy Rider program. Photo courtesy of Kimco Reality on Flickr, licensed under Creative Commons.

Author: Jessica Gregory

UW-Madison announced on Friday its partnership and collaboration with Madison Gas and Electric (MGE) to take steps towards using renewable energy at the university.

On Oct. 1, the Wisconsin Public Service Commission approved a 20-megawatt solar array for Madison Gas and Electric to operate in Fitchburg. Located on the O’Brien Solar Fields, MGE will work with its local partners to provide solar energy to customers. 

Not only is UW-Madison one of MGE’s partners for the project, but they are also purchasing half of the energy produced by the 60,000 solar panels, accounting for nearly 5 percent of the university’s electricity consumption.

Madison Gas and Electric is the first utility company in Wisconsin to offer customers a sustainable energy option through their pilot program Renewable Energy Rider. UW-Madison joined MGE’s renewable energy initiative last February. 

MGE Chairman, President and CEO Jeff Keebler emphasizes the importance of the project to both MGE and its partners.

“Partnerships like this one advance shared energy goals and help MGE achieve net-zero carbon electricity for all of our customers by 2050,” Keebler said.

Soon to be the largest solar energy project in Dane County, UW-Madison faculty and students can visit and research the O’Brien Solar Fields.

Chancellor Rebecca Blank expressed her support of UW-Madison working with MGE’s solar energy efforts.

“By repurposing farmland for the solar array and creating a shared, educational space in our community, we are also celebrating the connection between sustainability and the Wisconsin Idea,” Blank said.

Construction will begin this year with the expected cost to be $32 million. By 2021, the solar array will be generating renewable energy.