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The student news site of Milwaukee Area Technical College

MATC Times

The student news site of Milwaukee Area Technical College

MATC Times

The student news site of Milwaukee Area Technical College

MATC Times

Solar panels, turbine to be constructed at Oak Creek and Mequon

    Plans have moved off of the drawing board and into the ground for construction of a wind turbine at Mequon Campus.After plans were put on the back burner due to change of administration and permit difficulties, the turbine is finally set to be constructed approximately 30 yards off of the southwest corner of the campus building. It will be a 160-foot wind turbine and has 90 kilowatt generating power.

    Community concerns were raised over safety hazards and noise pollution, but after evaluations, the project proved to be safe and silent.

    Solar panels will be installed at the Oak Creek Campus, with additional panels installed at the Mequon Campus. There are already two on-ground panels at Mequon which move according to the sun’s position; however, the planned panels will be dormant on the roof. The solar panels are each rated at 17 kilowatts generating capacity.

    The projects will receive grants from WE Energies and Wisconsin’s Focus on Energy, which will cover around two-thirds of the cost; MATC will be funding the rest of the cost. The alternative energy that the turbine and panels will provide will meet 10% of the school’s energy needs and expects to pay itself off in approximately 10 years, thus saving taxpayer dollars.

    The turbine’s foundation has been laid and is expected to be operational by fall 2008, depending on its tests for functionality.

    Plans remain on the drawing board for panels to be installed at the Downtown Milwaukee Campus and at West Allis Campus. Site assessments must be held to evaluate the durability of the roofs’ capabilities to support the panel installation.

    Mequon Campus has experienced the installation of a meteorological tower, which allows students to measure temperatures, study humidity and wind direction.

    The students will also be able to study the data the turbines and panels provide, but are not able to assist with the construction due to safety concerns. In the meantime, plans are being made to reconstruct the wetlands at Mequon Campus to naturally filter phosphorous and algae from the campus pond. It helps prevent flooding by holding water upstream and restricting flow.

    MATC is part of a growing movement in Wisconsin with progressive measures being made to encourage the incorporation of alternative energy within colleges and businesses.

    The Blue Sky Green Field Wind Farm operated by WE Energies remains under construction in Fond du Lac and anticipates having 88 turbines generating power. According to WE Energies, Blue Sky Green Field will generate 145 megawatts of electricity, which is enough to power 36,000 homes.

    Approximately three hours west of Milwaukee is Soldiers Grove, America’s first solar village. After a detrimental flood in 1978, the village was forced to relocate and decided to take on a “multi-purpose recovery.” All new businesses constructed incorporated solar heating with dormant panels on the roofs. At least 50% of heating needs are utilizing the energy, and thus dubbed the name, Solar Town, USA.

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