New Glarus WWTP Solar Project
Electric customers in New Glarus are benefitting from a new application of solar power. An array of solar photovoltaic (PV) panels were installed on the roof of the administration building at the Village’s Wastewater Treatment Facility (WWTP). The solar PV system collects energy from sunlight and converts it into electricity. This highly visible project demonstrates the technology, while educating the community on the benefits, operation and performance of solar PV systems.
The system includes 24 roof-mounted panels with a total output of 5 kilowatts, generating approximately 6,200 kilowatt-hours of emissions-free electricity each year. In addition to the renewable energy provided by the solar PV system, the WWTP purchases an additional 600 kWh of renewable energy for the building each month through New Glarus Utilities’ Green Power for Business Program, offsetting its energy usage by a total of 13,400 kWh per year--enough to power two small homes.
New Glarus Utilities pursued various grant opportunities, including funding from its power supplier, WPPI Energy, as well as Wisconsin’s Focus on Energy, to help fund the purchase and installation of the solar PV system. The project was contracted through H&H Solar Energy Services of Madison and became operational on October 6, 2010.
“It is our objective to be a model for the use of renewable energy,” said Scott Jelle, Director of Public Works. “By supporting community-wide renewable projects, the Village of New Glarus is demonstrating the practical use of renewable energy and encouraging customers to do the same.”
In further efforts to promote renewable energy production in the village, New Glarus Utilities has provided grants to local customers to help them install their own solar PV systems. Sportsman’s Bar, Four Oaks Farms, and Richard and Marge Irland have installed similar renewable energy systems in the past several years. The Irland residence also participates in the solar energy buy-back program, where energy from the home’s solar PV system is purchased by the utility.
So that community members can view the operation and performance of the system at the village’s wastewater treatment facility, a web-based interface has been set up to monitor energy output and other data. This information can be viewed in real time from any computer with access to the Internet.
“We’re working hard to lead by example,” said Jelle. “The use of renewable energy is a simple step anyone can take to help create a cleaner energy future.”
In an effort to further reduce its electric usage and costs, the Village of New Glarus has also undertaken a number of energy efficiency and conservation measures in its facilities, including efficient lighting upgrades at the village hall, fire department, and at the public works and utility garages.
In addition, New Glarus Utilities has provided incentives to several business customers to help them save costs through energy efficiency projects, including the Sugar River Power Center, Glarnerladen Antiques, Chalet Landhaus, New Glarus Bakery, and the New Glarus School District.
For more information, please contact New Glarus Utilities at 527-2913.