Alliant Energy commissioned Wisconsin’s largest solar facility last month in the Town of Beloit. The Rock River Solar project transformed the 17-acre landfill site into a 2.3 megawatt (MW) solar farm with more than 7,700 solar panels that can provide enough generate clean power to power 500 local households.
“We’re excited about the benefits that solar power will bring to our Town of Beloit property and to the Beloit and Janesville communities,” Alliant Energy Spokesperson Scott Reigstad told the Beloit Daily News. Alliant Energy has about 53,000 Alliant Energy customers in the area that will benefit from the energy produced by the solar farm, more than 10 percent of the 461,000 customers it has across the state.
“We’re making a move towards cleaner energy,” Reigstad said. The utility is shutting down some of its coal-fired powered plants and replacing them with natural gas power plants to provide base load power. For Instance it's scheduled to bring another natural gas fired power plant online in 2020 and has another solar plant in the works, too.
"Investments in clean energy have been central to our plan for decades," said Patricia Kampling, Alliant Energy Chairman, President and CEO. "Solar is an important part of our future energy mix, and one of many ways we are following a path of sustainability and stewardship."
Still, solar power hasn't reached a critical mass in Wisconsin as in some other states residents are becoming more interested in renewable energy. Reigstad anticipated that Alliant will add in more clean energy because costs continue to come down and because customers are demanding clean energy.
Since the solar market isn’t well developed in Wisconsin utility companies and clean energy advocates there are having public discussions with regulators about their plans to raise rates for solar projects but already some judges have struck some of those efforts down. Thankfully some big names are in support of solar, too. For instance former Green Bay Packer offensive tackle Mark Tauscher, who now is a broadcaster, has spoken up to support the expansion of solar power in Wisconsin.Tweet