Wetlands Centre officially goes solar

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Driftless Area Wetlands Centre Director Alicia Mullarkey flips the switch on the site’s solar project, which is the second the city of Marquette has undertaken over the past year. (Photo by Audrey Posten)

The Wetlands Centre’s solar arrays were installed by Eagle Point Solar in November. (Submitted photo)

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times

The Driftless Area Wetlands Centre has flipped the switch on its $16,500 solar project, making the site the second in the city of Marquette to be powered with renewable energy.

The city council approved the project in September, spurred on by the success of the first system at well number four in the Timber Ridge Subdivision, which began operating around this time last year. The Wetlands Centre’s roof array was installed by Dubuque-based Eagle Point Solar in November. 

According to the Wetlands Centre, the solar arrays are expected to produce 84 percent of the electricity used at the nature center, saving the city over $1,000 in electrical bills at current utility rates in the first year of operation. Over 25 years, Marquette will save roughly $45,000 in electrical costs.

The move also lessens the city’s carbon footprint. The Wetlands Centre solar arrays will save 205 tons of carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere over the life of the panels—the equivalent of planting 4,777 trees or driving 410,000 miles. In addition, the project will help avoid the use of up to 5 million gallons of water by thermal electric power plants.

The expansion of Marquette’s solar infrastructure won’t end there, though. In October, the city council approved powering the building that houses the city shop/police station. This system will cost $30,680 and also be completed by Eagle Point Solar. 

At this week’s meeting, the council will continue to discuss solar options at the sewer plant as well.

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