Madison Gas & Electric and Wisconsin Public Service, of Green Bay, say they will be partners in purchasing two solar energy projects that would be the biggest solar installations not only in Wisconsin, but throughout the Midwest.
The Badger Hollow Solar Farm will be massive — with as many as 1.2 million solar panels over 3,500 acres, according to developer Invenergy. It will be in Iowa County, between the villages of Montfort and Cobb, about 60 miles west of Madison, and it could produce as much as 300 megawatts of electricity when the sun is shining.
The Two Creeks solar project, proposed by NextEra Energy Resources, will be in northeastern Wisconsin in the town of Two Creeks and will generate up to 150 megawatts.
MGE plans to buy 50 megawatts of each of the installations; WPS will buy 100 megawatts of each. Total cost for the two utilities will be about $390 million. MGE’s share of the cost will be $130 million.
Tyler Huebner, executive director of RENEW Wisconsin, a Madison nonprofit that advocates for renewable energy, said Badger Hollow would be the biggest solar farm in the Midwest, topping the 100-megawatt North Star solar farm north of Minneapolis.
“It’s a landmark day for solar energy in Wisconsin,” Huebner said. “The costs have come down dramatically; homeowners and businesses have seen that. We’re very excited that our power companies are also making this investment to create renewable energy here in Wisconsin.”
Huebner said 300 megawatts of solar energy is comparable to the amount used by 67,000 homes and will provide about 1 percent of Wisconsin’s annual electricity production.