The rapid shift to solar power in Wisconsin

As an increasing number of utilities created targets to go carbon-free by the year 2050, Wisconsin is experiencing a steady conversion to solar power. The expenditure comes given the threats raised by the pandemic of COVID-19. According to Solar Energy Industries Association estimates, new solar installations nationally are projected to rise 43% from 2019 to a peak of 19 gigawatts of power installed in the year 2020. Solar has accounted for 43% of all added ability to produce new power this year.

As per Michael Vickerman, policy analyst for the RENEW Wisconsin, the state now has Twenty solar farms under active construction that will produce over 2.2 gigawatts of electricity. Vickerman stated that is enough power to cater to around 7% of the state’s annual energy usage. “So there would have to be an additional wave — multiple waves to be specific — of the solar coming down the pike, which is after the first twenty projects have been established,” Vickerman added. As coal has been more expensive to run, the change in the power generation balance has been guided by falling utility-scale solar prices, Vickerman continued. In the last decade, solar prices have fallen by more than 80%.

Customer preference, tax benefits, relative ease of permission, and eager landowners too has driven utilities to buy stock in solar power, Vickerman added. Alliant Energy, headquartered in Madison, confirmed this year that it would phase out coal from its power production by the year 2040, including removing its Sheboygan coal facility in Edgewater. Alliant outlined plans to spend $900 million in May to install 675 megawatts of solar energy as part of the target of installing 1 gigawatt of solar energy by the end of the year 2023.

“Our solar energy ventures are appealing from the viewpoint that they’ll be the best option for our consumers planning about this lengthy period as well as aiming at the generation,” stated David de Leon. He serves as the president of Wisconsin Power and Light, a subsidiary of Alliant. “Therefore, not only would it be that perhaps the price of these initiatives have been reducing and have provided us a chance to integrate those into our activities from a financial standpoint. However, also it does the correct thing for the surroundings.”

Alliant has acquired solar plants that are supposed to add to the utility’s target of installing 1 gigawatt of solar in Rock as well as Green counties this fall. In the next 30 years, WEC Energy Company, owned by We Energies and the Wisconsin Public Service, has already vowed to be carbon-free.  In November, the utility firm announced that it was removing 1,800 megawatts of the fossil fuel capacity and spending $2 billion on green energy, including 800 megawatts of the new solar power.