Reaching 100% Renewable for City Operations

Pie chart showing electricity mix for City of Madison operations in 2020. While 25% of electricity for City operations was produced using fossil fuels, the other 75% was from renewable sources, including Renewable Energy Rider (RER) solar projects (22%), behind-the-meter solar (2%), the renewable energy mix from the utility (15%), and renewable energy credits (36%).Seventy five percent of electricity for City operations comes from renewable sources, putting us well on our way to reaching 100% by 2030. Reaching this goal requires us to take an innovative and multifaceted approach. We have installed more than 1.7 megawatts (MW) of behind-the-meter solar at City facilities, and another 1 MW is currently in development. The City plans to install an additional 8 MW of behind-the-meter solar by 2030.

Another 22% of our electricity is supplied by Hermsdorf Solar Fields. This 8 MW utility-scale solar array was constructed through a partnership between the City of Madison, Madison Metropolitan School District, and Madison Gas and Electric through their Renewable Energy Rider program. The City is served by 5 MW of the output and MMSD is served by the other 3 MW.

The City also purchases Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) through the Butter Solar Project. Through this arrangement, the City invested $1.4 million in five solar installations in Wisconsin that are part of the initiative and receives RECs from 14 MW of the project, which consists of 10 solar installations totaling 32 MW. These RECs account for 36% of the City's annual electricity use.

GreenPower Program

We’re leveraging our work to green city facilities to provide multiple benefits through our GreenPower workforce training program. In 2016, the City of Madison started a new program to train underemployed and unemployed residents from underrepresented communities to prepare them for jobs in the solar industry or the trades. Trainees work alongside electricians from the city’s engineering division to install PV on city facilities and aid in energy efficiency upgrades at city facilities. So far, GreenPower participants had installed 21 PV projects totaling over 1,056 kilowatts (kW), helping the city reduce our emissions by an estimated 765 metric tons of carbon emissions annually. Participants are also guided in life skills, which can aid in obtaining a permanent job after the training concludes. Participants have gone on to gain electrical apprenticeships and become certified journeymen, and some have been hired by the city.

Four Green Power trainees standing near a solar PV installation

Supporting Solar Across the Community


The City's MadiSUN program, administered by local nonprofit partner RENEW Wisconsin, works to expand solar energy for homes, businesses, and nonprofit organizations in the community through grants and group purchasing. So far, the program has supported development of more than 2 MW of solar in our community.

How to Go Solar

Ready to install solar on your home or business? Check out our handy step-by-step guide for navigating the process.