WAPAKONETA — Local officials and business owners gathered Thursday for a ribbon cutting ceremony to commemorate the completion of Wapakoneta’s Solar Phase 2 on Short Road, a collaboration between the city and its partners Eitri Foundry and Madison Energy Investments to bring solar energy to the area.
Located just outside the city limits, the field is owned by Madison Energy, an independent power producer that operates similar sites across 19 states. Jack Hachmann, managing partner of Madison, says that the solar field will provide Wapak residents with clean energy for decades to come.
“It’s a great partnership with the city,” Hachmann said. “It’s a 30 year contract, so we’re going to be able to provide them with clean energy for 30 years.”
The solar field spans 65 acres and will provide 13.5 megawatts of energy, roughly equivalent to the annual usage of 1,300 to 2,500 homes, according to Zack Sadowsky, director of Business Development at Eitri Foundry. Eitri was responsible for the construction and development of the project.
The power purchase agreement was signed in December 2020, and construction on the site began in April 2021. Power production from the site had already begun in December 2021, with the ribbon cutting delayed to wait for more temperate weather.
Aside from the renewable energy and long-term contract with the city, there are additional benefits to having the solar field. It will keep energy costs down during peak hours and could help solve problems during heat waves and power outages, according to Sadowski.
Steve Henderson, interim mayor of Wapakoneta said he was “darn proud” of the project, touting the collaboration with Madison and Eitri as a major success.
“They’ve done such a nice job… It’s just a great team to work with,” Henderson said.
Hachmann said Madison Energy hopes the success of this project will inspire more in other communities.
“That’s what we try to do, do a great job on the project and demonstrate the feasibility and the success, and then we replicate that,” he said.
But the completion of this project does not mark the end of Wapak’s plans to build solar fields in the area. Rather, due to the success of the collaboration for Phase 2, an additional project is already in talks, though details are still sparse.
“Stay tuned for Phase 3!” Henderson exclaimed multiple times.