Energy Conservation / Renewable Energy

Solar Array

Solar Energy & LEED® Certification

MG&E Solar Array 

In December of 2020, Dane County Executive Joe Parisi and Madison Gas and Electric (MGE) announced the 9-megawatt (MW) solar array at the Dane County Regional Airport. By 2021, the array became fully operational and is currently delivering locally generated, sustainable energy to MGE's distribution system. The array generates enough carbon-free electricity to provide Dane County with about 40% of the energy used by all County-owned facilities. At the time of its completion, is was the largest solar array in Dane County and the largest installation in Wisconsin built for a single customer.

The solar array consists of about 31,000 solar panels and covers 58 acres of County-owned land north of the airport. Dane County is leasing the land to MGE, and MGE then sells the energy to Dane County. The County's purchase of renewable electricity from this solar project reduces greenhouse gas emissions in an amount equivalent to the emissions produced by 2,700 cars or the burning of 7,000 tons of coal per year. MGE also added pollinator plantings in certain areas of the array under the solar panels to boost pollinator habitat for dwindling monarch and honey bee populations.

Airport Maintenance Building

The Airport Maintenance Facility, completed in 2014, includes a solar array on its roof, which was at its time of completion the state’s largest municipal solar array. Roughly half of the 58,800 square-foot building’s energy comes from the solar project. Other environmentally friendly elements include recycled materials, geothermal heating and cooling,  and efficient plumbing and mechanical systems.

In 2015, The facility achieved LEED® Gold certification by the U.S. Green Building Council through their efforts and continuous commitment to sustainable operations, which include: a rooftop solar array, geothermal heating and cooling, rooftop skylights, and was a zero waste to landfill project during construction. LEED, or Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design, is the recognized standard for measuring building sustainability. The LEED green building rating system, developed and administered by the U.S. Green Building Council, is intended to promote designs that reduce the environmental impacts of a building and improve the health and well-being of its occupants.

Parking Administration Building and Exit Plaza 

In 2009, the airport finished a large-scale parking renovation that included a new parking ramp, exit plaza, and parking administration building. The new exit plaza and parking administration building received LEED® Silver Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. This project also included adding the airport's first solar panels on top of the rental car return building.
The exit plaza was built using many noteworthy green practices:
  • 86% of construction waste was diverted from landfills into recycling programs
  • 43% of construction supplies and products were made from recycled materials
  • 94% of all wood used on the project is Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-certified
  • High-efficiency plumbing fixtures provide a 35% reduction in potable water use
  • A white roof with a high-solar reflectance was installed to reduce heat absorption
  • Low-emitting products were selected for paints, coatings, sealants, adhesives, and furniture
  • Optimized heating and cooling systems save energy and are responsive to occupant needs
  • Native landscaping was installed that does not require permanent irrigation systems
  • The building design and use of glazing maximize natural daylight.