Solar park begins generating power
Facility is third in Wisconsin for WPS
By Eileen Persike
There’s a new Hodag Park in town. Well, to be more specific, a Hodag Solar Park, and it is located in the town of Crescent.
Operations began last week at Wisconsin Public Service’s latest renewable energy facility. Located on 50 acres east of Highway 17 near Lake Julia, Hodag Solar Park features 21,000 solar panels capable of generating 7.5 megawatts – enough to power a large number of homes.
“This project is another example of our commitment to delivering affordable, reliable and clean energy to our customers,” said Scott Lauber, president, WPS. “We’re proud to add another source of renewable energy to power homes and businesses in north central Wisconsin.”
Solar panels use photovoltaic cells to convert light to energy, right in the panels to create a DC current that flows to inverters. Sixty inverters at the Hodag Solar Park are where the magic happens, according to Steve Schueller, power generation-renewable resources supervisor.
“There are 60 inverters and each 20 inverters will put out about 2.5 megawatts that feeds into a transformer, connects to underground cable and runs over to the east where it connects with the distribution line where it goes out into the world to power up to 2,000 homes,” Schueller explained.
Especially helpful in the Northwoods, state-of-the-art bifacial panels produce solar power from both sides. They absorb sunlight from the top, and also collect reflected light off the snow. The solar park also uses single axis tracking, meaning the panels follow the sun from east to west.
WPS is acquiring the Hodag Solar Park from OneEnergy Renewables, the project’s developer. Construction of the facility began last July and was completed earlier this month.
The Hodag Solar Park is WPS’ third solar project to come online since 2020. The company also owns 100 megawatts of two other facilities in Wisconsin. WPS and its parent company, WEC Energy Group have plans for additional solar, wind and battery storage facilities in the next five years.