Milwaukee County Plans First Solar-Powered Government Building, Aims for Zero Carbon Emissions – BNN Breaking

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Milwaukee County is on the verge of creating its first government building entirely powered by solar energy, located at 1230 W. Cherry St. This initiative, part of a larger effort to decrease the county’s carbon footprint, involves the construction of a new Department of Health and Human Services building. In response to a resolution by Chairwoman Marcelia Nicholson and Sup. Priscilla E. Coggs-Jones, the county explored the feasibility of this green project, revealing potential costs between $2.2 million and $3.3 million for planning, equipment, and installation.

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Strategic Investment in Solar Energy

The proposed solar array would span approximately 27,200 square feet over parking canopies, with an additional 3,200 square feet of rooftop panels, producing enough energy to meet the new building’s needs. This ambitious project is part of Milwaukee County’s broader commitment to sustainability, aiming to significantly reduce its operational carbon emissions, which predominantly come from its buildings and facilities. Despite the initial high costs and a payback period of 25 to 38 years, the project promises to offer clean energy and a hedge against future electric rate increases.

Pushing Towards a Greener Future

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Milwaukee County’s sustainability efforts are not new; in 2022, 64% of its operational carbon emissions came from powering its buildings. The solar project aligns with the county’s goals to achieve zero carbon emissions by 2050 and a 45% reduction from 2005 levels by 2030. Furthermore, the county is exploring state and federal rebates and tax incentives to make the solar array project more economically viable. These efforts are part of a larger legislative and budgetary framework aimed at incorporating climate considerations into the county’s infrastructure projects.

Decision Time for Milwaukee County

The decision to move forward with the solar-powered building project rests with the Milwaukee County Board and the County Executive, who control the budget. The project’s alignment with the county’s climate goals and potential for cost savings in the long run could make it a priority. The initiative also reflects a growing trend among local governments to invest in renewable energy sources as a means to combat climate change and promote sustainability. As Milwaukee County weighs its options, this project stands as a testament to its commitment to a greener, more sustainable future.

As Milwaukee County deliberates on the solar array project, its decision will not only impact its budget but also set a precedent for how local governments can lead in the fight against climate change. By prioritizing sustainability and clean energy, Milwaukee County is positioning itself as a leader in green government initiatives, showcasing the potential for other municipalities to follow suit. This project, if approved, could become a tangible symbol of Milwaukee County’s dedication to environmental stewardship and a healthier planet for future generations.

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