Badger State Solar is a proposed 149-megawatt (MW) solar photovoltaic generation facility located on privately-owned land in Jefferson County, Wisconsin. The project will provide clean, locally-generated electric power to an area utility while providing significant environmental and economic benefits in the local community.
Badger State Solar will utilize about 1,000 acres of land located within the larger, 5,000-acre area outlined in blue in the map above, west of the City of Jefferson, in the Towns of Jefferson and Oakland. The land is offered by landowners interested in participating in the project. The project will feature rows of solar panels that track the sun throughout the day, with 16 to 20 feet between each row.
The project proposes to use a simple design that minimizes soil disturbance, with solar panels mounted on racks attached to steel posts driven into the ground. Rows of panels will be arranged along a north-south axis, and the panels will rotate from east to west throughout the day to efficiently capture the sun’s energy.
Buried wires connecting the rows of panels will lead first to inverters that convert direct current to alternating current and then from inverters to a step-up transformer, where the voltage will be increased to transmission system levels for connection to an existing transmission substation. As shown in the map above, the substation is located near the intersection of Wisconsin Highway 89 and County Road Q.
RENEW Wisconsin, a local group that advocates for renewable energy development in Wisconsin, has developed useful information about large-scale solar energy like the Badger State project. General information is available at www.renewwisconsin.org/solarfarms.
RENEW also has recently published research responsive to a common concern about the implications of solar farms on Wisconsin cropland. Read RENEW’s blog entry on “Solar and Agricultural Land Use” at www.renewwisconsin.org/solar-and-agricultural-land-use.
In addition, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Energy Technologies Office has published a “Farmer's Guide to Going Solar” that includes good information about the compatibility of solar energy production and agriculture (although some of the information is designed to help with decisions about building a solar facility to power farm operations). See more at www.energy.gov/eere/solar/farmers-guide-going-solar.