By Joe Bachman
WISCONSIN RAPIDS — City leaders, library officials, the Heart of Wisconsin, Mid-State students, and more were on hand to celebrate McMillan Library’s solar rooftop array with a ribbon cutting ceremony on Wednesday.
Officially endorsed by the city in April, Viking Electric partnered with McMillan Library to begin the installation of solar panels on their rooftop in July. The panels will not only reduce McMillan’s carbon footprint, but it will cost the taxpayers absolutely nothing.
“This would be the first municipally-owned rooftop solar projects here in the city,” said Mayor Zach Vruwink. “It’s so exciting to have one of the largest municipal solar projects in central Wisconsin — we hope that this will be the first of many.”
At a cost of close to $420,000, McMillan contributed $250,000 of that — half of which comes from private donations. The other half comes from the Library Endowment Fund.
“This wouldn’t happen if it weren’t for Andy,” said Alderperson Scott Kellogg about Library Director Andy Barnett.
Speaking of Barnett, he closed out remarks in front of a packed second floor in the library, which saw dozens attend for rooftop tours of the solar panels, as well as refreshments. Before doing so, former Lincoln High School graduate Scott Prahl of Viking Electric addressed the many in attendance.
“It’s a win-win for everybody, and I think it’s a great improvement for the city.” said Prahl.
The solar array will produce 250,000 kWhs annually, which is enough to power 25 average homes. McMillan Library is located at 490 E. Grand Ave.