Solar lab going up at Alliant Energy headquarters in Madison, Wis.

solar liftsWe’re excited to announce that we are breaking ground this week on our new solar demonstration project. We will be installing more than 3 dozen unique renewable energy features as part of a solar lab on the grounds of our corporate headquarters in Madison, Wis. We expect the first solar structure to be in place next month.

More than 1,000 solar panels will be installed from multiple manufacturers, with 11 different types of panels used in all. The primary focus will be to research the operations of the latest solar technologies and how effectively they operate in Wisconsin’s climate.

Phase one of the project includes several ground-level and building-mounted solar panels, solar parking canopies covering nearly 50 parking spaces, 13 electric vehicle charging stations, solar café tables and a battery energy storage system. Five of the electric vehicle charging stations will be open to the public.

“One of the key project goals is to have a monitoring interface available onsite and online where anyone can view real-time performance data,” said ,” said John Larsen, president of Alliant Energy’s Wisconsin utility. “This multi-year effort will enable our company and our customers to discover the many ways solar energy and renewable technology can be used in a Wisconsin setting.”

We’ll also be examining information on how the structures work and interact, as well as how they impact building operations. In addition, we’ll research their operation, maintenance and safety aspects.

The project will place the solar energy features in various locations, angles and elevations on our office property to see how solar can be optimized in the Midwest. We will share the experience gained from constructing, operating and maintaining the structures.

To that end, we are collaborating with the Electric Power Research Institute to collect and analyze site data. We also expect to bring in other partners in the coming months and years to maximize the project’s educational, training, safety and operational benefits.

The initial construction phase is expected to be completed by the end of December, with a second phase planned to break ground in the second half of 2016. The initial project investment is expected to be approximately $5 million.

The company’s offices at 4902 North Biltmore Lane on Madison’s east side in the American Center business park will be the site for the renewable structures.

This project builds on Alliant Energy’s commitment of caring for the environment by utilizing clean energy resources, including over a century of producing hydroelectric power, more than two decades of providing wind power, and assisting more than 1,600 customers with installation of their own renewable energy generation.

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