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Dane County Office of Energy & Climate Change

Monona Grove Solar Installation Offers Important Lessons


When a community comes together to make change happen the results are inspiring.

Last week I helped celebrate one of these moments with the Monona Grove School District. The Monona Grove School District hosted a ribbon cutting and open house to celebrate the installation of a 674 kw solar array on the roof of the Monona Grove High School. The array is expected to provide about half of the electricity used by the school annually. Over the 30-year lifetime of the array it is expected to save the school district at least $1.5 million. You can learn more about the project here and there’s some nice media coverage of the event here and here.

The Monona Grove project is special because it’s a triumph of the Monona Grove Ad Hoc Sustainability Committee, a group of school board members, local community members and students who have been working to green the district for a long time. Indeed, you can learn more about the Committee’s efforts in a talk they gave at RENEW Wisconsin’s Renewable Energy Summit in 2021. 

I heard two important themes both at the event on Saturday and, earlier at the RENEW Summit. 

  • Solar is a good investment for schools. Both the District’s Director of Business Services, Jerrud Rossing, and School Board member Peter Sobol made this point in various ways. More, the Ad Hoc Sustainability Committee is committed to sharing their financial calculations so that others can pursue solar too.
  • Installing solar gives students hope relative to the climate crisis. MGHS sophomore Krishna Elwell has made this point repeatedly and eloquently. There is a lot of doomy climate news out there and that can mean students feel anxiety about their futures. When districts lead on clean energy they give students tangible proof that adults will take action to mitigate the crisis.

Twenty-five school buildings in Dane County have solar. (You can learn more about all of them at our Clean Energy Map.) That means we’ve still got opportunities to install—and celebrate—solar at more than a hundred additional school facilities.

I look forward to lots more solar celebrations!


Kathy Kuntz

Kathy Kuntz


Kathy is the Director of the Dane County’s Office of Energy and Climate Change. In that role she's leading efforts to implement the Climate Action Plan. Prior to coming to Dane County, Kathy led Cool Choices and, prior to that, she led Wisconsin's Focus on Energy program.

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