1,300 solar panels cover Verona parking lot

Posted on May 9, 2011. Filed under: Solar |

From an article by Judy Newman in the Wisconsin State Journal:

Epic is turning its face toward the sun.

Epic Systems Corp. has added a canopy of nearly 1,300 solar panels over the exposed deck of one of two parking ramps at its Verona campus.

With a maximum capacity of 280 watts per panel, they can produce as much as 443,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity a year, said Bruce Richards, Epic’s director of facilities. “That’s like 40 homes worth of energy,” he said.

When the sun shines, solar power supplies up to 5 percent of the electricity used by the health care software development company’s 4,300 employees.

But it’s just the beginning. While the new panels were powered up in late April, Epic started work this week on a much bigger solar spread. It will encompass about 18 acres, just west of its office campus, near Country View Road, on an alfalfa field Epic owns.

The 7,500 panels will produce up to 2.2 megawatts of power on a sunny day, or about seven times as much as the current solar units. They will be mounted 13 feet high, over geothermal wells being bored into the farmland. “That way, we can still farm the land. So we can get three uses from the land,” Richards said.

Epic began work on the smaller solar project last August, he said, with the first panels installed over the parking deck in November. Phase one of the bigger solar installation is expected to start operating by the end of 2011; the rest by June 2012. Richards would not disclose the cost of either project.

Universal Solar, Rockford, Ill., is providing the panels and Delta Structures, Chicago, made the geodesic truss units that hold the existing solar panels. J.H. Findorff & Son, Madison, is the general contractor and Morse Group, Beloit, is performing the electrical and engineering work.

The 2.2-megawatt solar installation would “by far be the largest solar electric generator in the state,” said Michael Vickerman, executive director of RENEW Wisconsin.

Photo by Eric Plautz – J.H. Findorff & Son

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