County Board to vote on proposal to use solar power in Milwaukee

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Milwaukee County Board Chairwoman Marina Dimitrijevic has announced she will introduce a green power/green jobs resolution which proposes to increase the use of solar power within Milwaukee County and explore the possibility of a solar farm on County property at General Mitchell International Airport.

Dimitrijevic said that the use of solar power has become more feasible and economically viable in Wisconsin, with the average cost of solar energy systems decreasing from 2012 to 2013.

This legislation will allow the County to benefit from the lower costs of creating a solar energy system while also benefiting from energy cost savings and creating jobs.

This legislation ensures the County is taking steps to utilize solar energy whenever and wherever possible.  In addition, it begins the process for the creation of a solar farm on County property at the airport.

“Adopting solar energy helps build on Milwaukee County’s rich history of environmental stewardship,” Dimitrijevic said. “Solar energy helps protect Wisconsin’s natural resources and advances the energy efficiency and renewable energy provisions of Milwaukee County’s ‘Green Print’ initiative while supporting Wisconsin’s goal of 10 percent renewable energy by 2015.”

The ‘Green Print’ initiative was passed in 2007 and it was expanded in 2009 to include a Sustainability Director to oversee the initiative.

New York, Monona, Wis., Dubuque, Iowa and the Indianapolis Airport Authority are among those that  have already installed solar panels and have generated both energy savings and revenue from the leasing of property for solar farms.

“Solar energy is part of the solution to our energy needs,” Dimitrijevic said. “It can save on energy costs for Milwaukee County, and it can potentially create a revenue stream in the future. This is the next natural step after my Green Print legislation. The need to use more renewable energy is critical, and this will not only save money, it will also create ‘green’ jobs in Milwaukee County.”

On January 22nd, the County's Transportation Committee took up the issue -- and the Board approved a feasibility study for the proposal.

The resolution will come before the full County Board at its next meeting on Feb. 6.