Alliant holds public forum to discuss solar battery units

Community wants answers on solar farm
Published: Nov. 30, 2022 at 9:29 PM CST
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SARATOGA, Wis. (WSAW) - Alliant Energy held a meeting Wednesday with people living in the town of Saratoga to discuss what a solar battery storage unit, that works with the Wood County solar array, means for the community.

Alliant only recently filed with the public service commission to build the battery unit and they want the public to know they have the community’s best interests at heart.

Saratoga’s Paul Hogan voted for building the solar array a couple of years ago. So far, he’s not happy with it, “The guy that was on stage says it’s going to help us in the long run lowering our electric bills. Since then my electric bill’s gone up about $40 a month,” Hogan said.

It’s only been a few months since solar power went on. Alliant says it’s happening in stages, and the battery will save on energy waste. “That’s designed not only to provide safe affordable energy to our customer base but also long-term cost savings,” said Alliant Spokesperson Tony Palese.

The excess storage is designed to help those costs go down. Hogan says that’s what he wanted to hear about most. “I live on a fixed income. Two hundred dollars to me is a lot of money,” Hogan said.

Alliant spent a lot of the presentation talking about safety with the new battery technology. They also say the battery storage is planned to be a half mile from any homes. “You’re not going to be able to see this from the side of the road. It’s not going to make noise. It’s about as quiet as your air-conditioning unit, Palese said.

According to town chair Rhonda Carrell, the area where the array is was originally planned to be a concentrated animal feeding operation, something the town fought, “I think it’s a reasonable use of the land that had been proposed for something that our community stood up against.” Carrell says it’s important for the town to be fully aware of how their land is used, especially after fighting for eight years to preserve it.

The public’s in-person questions were mostly about safety, cost-effectiveness, and lifespan of the units. It will take up to a year to get approval for the construction of the battery storage and the project wouldn’t be done until 2024. Alliant plans to have another community meeting but has not set a date yet.