By Jan Axelson
Since October, the Warner Park Community Recreation Center has been using clean electricity produced by solar panels mounted on the building’s rooftop. The system has been performing better than expected, providing 7 percent of the facility’s electricity.
Three participants in the City of Madison’s GreenPower Solar Installer Training Program helped to install the panels. The six-month program included both classroom instruction and field work installing solar panels at Warner Park and other sites around the city.
According to Matt Parks of the City of Madison Engineering Division, “the power produced on-site is consumed on-site during normal operation. When the building is not occupied or during low electrical use days, the electrical energy is exported out onto the MGE power lines and used upstream at buildings nearby.”
Compared to electricity derived from coal, the system is preventing more than 33,000 pounds of carbon dioxide from being emitted into the atmosphere each year. Carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, traps heat that contributes to increased warming of the earth’s surface.
The City of Madison’s Sustainability Plan aims for the city to obtain 25 percent of electricity, heating, and transportation energy from clean energy sources by 2025. Warner Park’s solar panels are helping the city meet that goal.
To view real-time and historical output data for the panels, visit http://tinyurl.com/solarwarner.