First solar panel installed at Yahara Solar Project site

COTTAGE GROVE, Wis. — The Yahara Solar Project took a big step towards completion Tuesday when the first of 33,000 solar panels were installed.

The 90-acre solar farm is located on Dane County-owned land in Cottage Grove. Crews broke ground on the site earlier this year.

RELATED: Dane County begins construction on 90-acre Yahara Solar Project

Officials expect the project to be finished by the end of the year, and will help fulfill the county’s goal of using 100% renewable electricity to power all county facilities.

“Achieving our goal of powering our buildings with 100% renewable electricity is a win-win for our climate and local family-supporting jobs,” Dane County Executive Joe Parisi said.

The farm will produce 36 million kilowatt-hours of renewable electricity each year, officials said, enough to power over 3,000 homes in the county. The solar panels also use new technology, which boosts energy as sunlight is reflected off the ground, especially when the ground is covered in snow.

This is the largest renewable energy project undertaken by the county, almost twice the size of the solar installation at Dane County Regional Airport. At peak construction, the project will create about 70 jobs.