The city of Beaver Dam has a new environmentally-friendly energy source.
This week, crews began installing solar panels on top of the building at 123 Park Ave., housing the Beaver Dam Police Department and the Beaver Dam Municipal Court. The Beaver Dam Municipal Building at 205 S. Lincoln Ave., had solar panels installed last year.
The panels originally were going to be installed on top of the Watermark last fall as well. However, Mayor Becky Glewen said, it turned out the roof of the Watermark could not handle the extra weight of the panels, so they were moved to the police station.
Last year, the city received a $62,000 grant to help fund the solar panel installation. The total cost of the panels was $220,000. The rest of the cost was covered by private third parties who worked with the North Wind Energy Cooperative and Legacy Solar Co-Op firms. Private sponsors will donate money to cooperative organizations as a philanthropic move to boost use of green energy and because they can receive tax credits.
Beaver Dam only had to pay a $250 finance charge for the panels, which are expected to save $800,000 over 25 years. According to an energy report the city issued in 2018, it spends over $1 million a year on energy costs, so the panels will help chop into that while reducing use of fossil fuels, producing 37,000 kilowatt hours of renewable energy every year.
The city has set a goal of producing 25 percent of energy needs with renewable sources by 2020 and 35 percent by 2025. City officials have identified possible projects that could help achieve the goal like replacing street lights with LED bulbs.