This is great news for NextEra Energy and WPPI Energy regarding their plans to build the next Point Beach nuclear power plant. Wisconsin regulators signed the 200-megawatt plant, which will be the second largest in Wisconsin after construction, on Thursday.
The Wisconsin Public Service Commission unanimously approved a public convenience and necessity certificate that gives the solar farm developer the right to move the project forward. Finally, the PSC approved NextEra Energy's request to acquire the Wisconsin-based Public Service Authority's (WPPI) right of first refusal for the Point Beach nuclear power plant project, according to a news release.
Separately, Invenergy is also working on the largest solar plant planned in Wisconsin, Badger Hollow Solar Farm. The utility will acquire the pre-emption rights for the 1,000-megawatt solar park in Manitowoc County, about 30 miles south of Madison, according to a news release. The Venergy Badger Hollow Sun Farm is the site of a major solar energy project, which is to be extended to farmland across the country.
Given Wisconsin's status as the second-largest state, it came as a shock to many when WPPI Energy and NextEra Energy Resources announced late last year that they were jointly pursuing a $1.2 billion solar energy project in Manitowoc County. The planned 100-megawatt (MW) plant will be the largest solar plant in Wisconsin, according to a press release from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
The project is expected to produce enough energy to power 120,000 homes in Wisconsin for a year. When completed, the 450 megawatts of solar power would produce more than 1.5 million kilowatt hours of electricity per year and cover the entire electricity needs of the state of Wisconsin.
This project would help Wisconsin, one of the most environmentally friendly states in the United States, to shift to clean energy. We urgently need to move toward clean, renewable energy, and in Wisconsin that means pushing for solar and wind power.
The Two Creeks solar project, which went online in November, includes solar panels on the roof of a house in Manitowoc County and a wind farm in the state. The sheer capacity to generate solar energy dominates the fact that we can get more of it than all other renewable energy sources put together. In addition to roof surfaces, there are wind turbines, solar systems and even wind farms that contribute to the electricity supply. Solar panels on the roof or even setting up a so-called solar farm in your own garden can be a great way to harness all the solar energy and minimise your carbon footprint.
In addition to the large utility projects, there are a number of smaller solar projects in Wisconsin and other parts of the country. Some are small, ranging from 1 MW to 5 MW, but there is great interest in the upcoming solar farms in Wisconsin. We have listed some of them below and look forward to exploring and developing projects for you throughout Wisconsin.
Alliant is also buying a solar project in Rock and Green County this fall that will contribute to the utility's plan to build 1 gigawatt of solar power. If approved and built, it would produce enough electricity to meet the annual consumption of about 185,000 homes in Wisconsin and provide enough electricity for about 1,500 homes and businesses. Renew cites Wisconsin as an example, where the 100 MW solar farm would provide $10 million to local governments to operate.
The state currently has 20 solar farms that generate electricity, and when the latest wave of projects is powered this spring, Wisconsin will have a solar portfolio of 60 megawatts (MW) that will produce enough electricity to power 7,000 homes for a year. Solar energy is growing rapidly and is expected to grow by nearly 1,000% by the end of the year. Six projects are under development, including six in Wisconsin alone, which together will power hundreds of thousands of homes. In fact, according to Renew Wisconsin, 20 solar farms are in active development that will generate more than 2.2 gigawatts of electricity.
The cost of installing solar panels depends largely on the amount of electricity or electricity you want to generate for your home. As of January 2021, the average cost of solar panels in Wisconsin will be $3.57 per watt, which will allow an average of $1,000 per kilowatt hour (kWh) of solar power to be consumed annually. Most homeowners pay between 3 and 4 watts to install a solar plant in Manitowoc, at an average cost of about $2,500 per kW. The average price of a 1.5 megawatt solar farm (MW) will account for about 1% of total electricity generation in the state of Wisconsin, making it the second largest renewable energy source in North America.
This shows that solar energy is a much cheaper way to power Wisconsin households in the long run. On the other hand, if your Manitowoc, WI home is entirely dependent on solar, you will never pay for electricity again, or at least drastically reduce your electricity bill.