September 26, 2023

Josh Arnold (second right), the University of Wisconsin-Madison Office of Sustainability campus energy adviser, talks with Steve Greidanus (far right), the engineering manager at Alliant Energy, as Drake Spivey, generation engineer with Alliant Energy (far left), and Tom Bryan, a teaching faculty member at the UW Organic Collaborative, work on testing in preparation for building a solar park at the University of Wisconsin Physical Sciences Lab in Stoughton. The University of Wisconsin-Madison and Alliant Energy are partnering to build a solar park that will also serve as a research center to explore mixing solar and agriculture, soil impacts, water issues and more.

A new solar farm is being developed on land owned by the University of Wisconsin southwest of Madison with the aim of finding a better balance between green energy and agriculture.

The loss of hundreds of acres of farmland has been a growing point of local opposition when solar developers pitch new projects in Wisconsin and across the country.

It doesn’t have to be that way, said Josh Arnold, campus energy advisor for the UW-Madison Office of Sustainability. To begin to prove that point, the university is working with Alliant Energy to design a 2.25-megawatt solar farm on its Kegonsa Research Campus near Stoughton as a laboratory for a multi-disciplinary study of agrivoltaics — the co-location of solar energy and agriculture.

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