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Jefferson Utilities Employees and Customers


Solar Project

Bright future for Jefferson Area Business Center

Local officials, business tenants and neighbors gathered at the Jefferson Area Business Center (JABC) for a June 11 ceremony commissioning a renewable energy system that is unique to the Jefferson County business community. Owner Steve Lewis recently partnered with local utilities, contractors and students to install on the rooftop of the JABC a 20-kilowatt solar photovoltaic (PV) renewable energy system - the largest commercial project of its kind in the county.

“In making preparation for this project, my first analysis wasn’t how much the system would produce but how much I could cut my electrical consumption, because the best electron is the electron not used,” said Lewis.

The JABC, located at 218 Wisconsin Drive, offers shipping and receiving, copying, computer and conference room access, and other professional business services. The building also features commercial rental space. The PV installation consists of 99 rooftop solar panels arrayed on the JABC rooftop. The system is anticipated to generate approximately 24,800 kilowatt-hours of energy per year, equivalent to approximately 12 percent of the building's annual energy use.

WPPI Energy, power supplier for the local municipally owned Jefferson Utilities, will purchase the energy produced by the JABC system. WPPI Energy provided funding in the form of a $72,000 up-front payment for the purchase of 10 years worth of energy from the system. The total cost of the JABC project was approximately $200,000. Lewis also anticipates $35,000 in funding through the state’s Focus on Energy program and will be eligible for tax credits.

“WPPI Energy and our 51 member communities are committed to helping electric customers like Steve to take advantage of renewable energy technologies that increase our energy independence and, at the same time, lower greenhouse gas emissions,” said WPPI Energy President and CEO Roy Thilly. “The solar photovoltaic system that we are commissioning today highlights what can be achieved by working together to create a greener, more sustainable energy future for our businesses and communities.”

Participants in the commissioning ceremony included Lewis, Jefferson Mayor Gary Myers, Jefferson County Board Chair Sharon Schmeling, representatives from Jefferson Utilities, WPPI Energy and Focus on Energy, and Al Dittmar of Carroll Electric, the vendor and installer of the PV system.

Lewis closed the ceremony by remarking on the community’s green energy future. “Just by the reality of us gathered here today we have taken photovoltaics out of the future – out of the realm of things that will be and into everyday present life in Jefferson. The future is clear to see in Jefferson County. From photovoltaics to ethanol, methane digesters and hydroelectric, we are a county growing in sustainable energy.”

Project details

  • 21.38 kW fixed panels
  • 24,800 kWh per year
  • PV panels: Sharp ND-216U1F
  • Installed by Carroll Electric
  • Output detail