McFarland Community Ice Arena Goes Solar

Jun 13, 2024 12:54:04 PM

Members of the McFarland Community Ice Arena's board of directors gather on Earth Day to commemorate the kick-off of the arena's solar installation. 






MADISON, WI — On Sunday, June 23, 2024 youth hockey players and figure skaters will join rink officials and representatives from SunPeak, a Madison-based solar energy contractor, to “Flip the Switch” on a new 249-kilowatt rooftop solar photovoltaic system at the McFarland Community Ice Arena (MCIA). A free public open skate will follow the “Flip the Switch” ceremony. 

Over the next 30 years, solar will generate approximately 7.86 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of power for MCIA. “Keeping the ice arena cool takes a lot of energy, especially on warm and sunny summer days,” said Tod Pritchard, president of the MCIA board of directors. “Solar is a perfect fit to help us generate electricity exactly when we need it most. Plus, we’re thrilled to be using clean energy to power this space for our kids and our community.” 

With the addition of solar, the rink expects to cut its reliance on utility-provided power by more than 30%, thus reducing its carbon footprint by more than 6,000 tons of carbon dioxide over the system’s lifetime. In real-world terms, the solar energy created will reduce greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to 15,473,284 miles driven by gasoline-powered passenger vehicles.

rink solar panels done

Significant savings in operating costs are also expected. Aaron Babcock, chair of the rink’s Improvement Committee, noted, “The solar system will save MCIA approximately $28,500 in the first year in avoided energy costs. This value will increase in subsequent years if utility rates increase.” Babcock added, “These solar panels add environmental and economic value to our facility now and for decades to come.” 

The solar panel system was designed and installed by SunPeak and was made possible in part by an available federal incentive for solar and other local grants. 

“The federal Inflation Reduction Act is a great benefit for organizations of all kinds, including non-profits like the ice arena, because it can offset solar project costs by at least 30%,” said Hartman Hoel, Project Development Manager for SunPeak. “Solar is an especially great fit for McFarland Community Ice Arena because it takes a lot of energy to keep the rink cool throughout the summer months, and that’s exactly when sunlight is most abundant.”

“We’re so grateful to partner with SunPeak on this project,” added Pritchard. These solar panels will add environmental and economic value to this community treasure and benefit its athletes, families, and fans for decades to come.” 

The ice arena’s solar energy initiative complements a plan to expand the rink’s facility and amenities in the coming months.



The McFarland Community Ice Arena is a 501c3 non-profit organization. It serves as the home ice for McFarland High School Hockey, McFarland Youth Hockey Association, Hockey Factory, Southern Wisconsin Figure Skating Club, and several other organizations, including speedskating and adult recreational hockey leagues.