Madison Area Technical College has begun construction of the largest rooftop solar energy system in Wisconsin.
The community college says contractors are installing 5,250 photovoltaic panels at the institution's Truax campus in Madison.
Officials estimate that the panels will offset 10 to 15 percent of the college’s total electric consumption. That could save the college $200,000 per year in electricity costs.
Madison Gas and Electrict will provide a grant of up to $500,000 for the system and Madison College will contribute an additional $1.8 million. Construction is expected to be complete by September.
In addition to the cost savings, the system will provide educational opportunities for students in several renewable energy programs.
Students enrolled in related fields such as electrical apprentice, electronics, electrical engineering, industrial maintenance and architecture will also benefit from having access to the PV installation. School groups and the public will be able to gain access to energy output data for analysis.
Madison College is one of three education institutions behind the Center for Renewable Energy Advanced Technological Education (CREATE). CREATE works to advance renewable energy education by supporting two-year college renewable energy programs.
The other two CREATE schools are College of the Canyons in Santa Clarita, Calif., and Lane Community College in Eugene, Ore.