Fitchburg solar panels generate more than $30K worth of electricity

Fitchburg solar panels generate more than $30K worth of electricity

Solar panels installed on four Fitchburg city buildings have generated $30,000 worth of electricity in their first year in use, according to city officials.

Twenty-one percent of the electricity needed for those four city buildings has been supplied by renewable energy, according to the release. The city gets renewable energy from multiple sources.

In 2009, 12.3 kilowatts of solar panels were installed on the roof of City Hall, and in 2011, another 9.9 kilowatts were added by the public works garage, officials said. The city also participates in MG&E’s Business Renewable Energy Program to buy additional renewable energy as a percent of billed energy use.

The initial investments provided about 3 percent of the city’s buildings’ electric needs, according to the release. As of July, combined renewable energy sources totaled about 21 percent of the total electricity needed in the city’s buildings.

New installations on the Fitchburg Public Library and City Hall started in December, officials said. The solar panels on the West Fire Station and Public Works Garage went live in January. The four additional installations generated 276,431 kilowatts between January and July.

“We understand the need for energy efficiency and the long-term benefit of renewable energy. Working with the city’s sustainability team, the Fire Department was able to address our impact on utility use,” Fire Chief Joe Pulvermacher said in the release. “We see the value of positively addressing our over-all operational footprint through infrastructure and procedural modification.”

The East Fire Station, which is currently being built, is designed to be solar-ready, according to the release.

All of the installations bring the city closer to the 25×25 Energy Independence Goal signed in 2009, officials said. The Common Council declared Fitchburg a partner with the state in the pursuit of generating 25 percent of electricity and transportation fuels from renewable resources by 2025.