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Power supplier harnesses sun’s power

Electric customers in New Richmond who wonder what their local utility is doing about the need for clean, renewable energy don’t have to look farther than community-owned New Richmond Utilities and its power supplier, Wisconsin Public Power Inc., for an answer.

WPPI recently installed two 2.8-kilowatt photovoltaic solar arrays at its Sun Prairie, Wis., headquarters.

“It is our objective, and that of all WPPI member utilities, to be a model for cost-effective conservation initiatives and the efficient use of energy,” said Dennis Horner, Utility Manager. “WPPI’s new solar installation demonstrates our commitment to the use of clean, renewable energy.”

WPPI’s solar panels are mounted on poles and equipped with sunlight-tracking technology so they can move and tilt with the sun’s path across the sky, increasing the system’s efficiency by as much as 30%.

The installation will provide approximately 9,000 kWh of emissions-free electricity each year, or enough energy to power three energy-conscious homes.

WPPI Energy Services Representative Weston Arndt said that although WPPI’s system cost approximately $60,000, the average homeowner might spend less than half that for a smaller system. “In addition, federal tax credits and utility incentives for the use of solar can help offset project costs for individuals and businesses,” says Arndt. “Solar technology is a good option for any individual or business interested in reducing their carbon footprint.”

Weston Arndt recommends that electric customers interested in learning more about renewable energy projects should start by contacting their local utility.