It's Always Sunny In Madison

Jun 1, 2016 12:36:00 PM

June, 2016

Madison, WI - Along with Milwaukee and Waukesha counties, Dane County is continuing to pace the Badger State in solar energy adoption. Now Madison can add a feather to the local solar industry’s cap.

Earlier this spring, Madison-based solar developer SunPeak completed installation of a 741 kW solar photovoltaic (PV) system for Central Storage & Warehouse Co. (CSW). It’s Madison’s largest solar project ever, and it also happens to be the largest rooftop PV solar system constructed to date in the state of Wisconsin.

CSW knows a thing or two about energy consumption. The Madison-based, family-owned and operated company provides multi-temperature warehouse services to large food manufacturers and retailing customers. With five locations throughout Wisconsin totaling 20 million cubic feet, CSW was looking for a way to offset a significant portion of its electric utility consumption.

The new solar system was installed on the 40-foot-tall roof of CSW’s largest warehouse on Madison’s east side, where the company’s corporate headquarters is located. The facility contains frozen, refrigerated, and dry food storage.

“SunPeak was able to engineer and install a system that simultaneously lowered (CSW’s) overall cost of electricity and enhanced its sustainability by powering its facility with natural sunlight,” notes Chad Sorenson, SunPeak’s president.

SunPeak utilized less than a quarter of the 232,000 square feet of available roof space for the project, which will allow CSW to expand its use of solar energy in the future.

The system will lead to more than $90,000 of annual energy cost savings, a figure SunPeak notes will likely rise over time as the cost of utility rates rise. Over the 30-year expected lifespan of the system, CSW is projected to save more than $5.1 million in energy costs.

This latest project isn’t the first time SunPeak has shined. In 2015, SunPeak was the largest installer of customer-sited commercial solar PV in Wisconsin, installing over one-third of the statewide capacity for the year.

Other Wisconsin-based solar projects that SunPeak has completed include Ale Asylum Brewery near Madison’s airport, Letterhead Press in New Berlin, and Corrim Co. in Oshkosh. “Solar electricity now competes directly with fossil fuel-based energy sources,” Sorenson says. “SunPeak is aggressively lowering the installed cost of solar, making solar an attractive long-term investment. Our technolo-gy and process enable manufacturers, medical facilities, data centers, education facilities — basically any large users of electricity — to turn to solar for a significant source of their electricity needs.”

This article was written by Jason Busch for InBusiness magazine.