April 15, 2024

State’s largest solar panel canopy tops Eastpark Medical Center parking deck

Installation is significant part of UW Health commitment to green energy

MADISON, Wis. – UW Health is harnessing the power of solar energy by installing the largest solar canopy in Wisconsin at the new Eastpark Medical Center.

2,064 solar panels sitting atop the parking structure will generate clean energy for the medical center. RENEW Wisconsin, a non-profit renewable energy advocacy organization that tracks solar installations across the state, confirmed the project surpasses the size of any other solar canopy structure in the state.

“Using solar energy was always part of our vision for Eastpark Medical Center, given our commitment to climate health,” said Dr. Alan Kaplan, CEO, UW Health.

The easiest and most efficient way to lower the amount of energy the buildings consume is to use on site energy from the solar panels, said Kaplan.

UW Health became one of the first health systems in the country in 2022 to join the U.S. Department of Energy’s Better Climate Challenge, committing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50 percent within 10 years.

“UW Health has not only embraced renewable energy but also set a remarkable precedent for environmental responsibility,” said Katrina Lambrecht, senior vice president and chief administrative officer, UW Health. “This initiative showcases our commitment to reducing our carbon footprint and promoting clean energy solutions.”

The solar canopy will generate about 1,260 megawatt-hours of electricity annually. That is enough energy to support the planned proton therapy center at Eastpark Medical Center and equivalent to growing more than 1,000 acres of trees in a single year.

“The solar canopy at UW Health transforms a parking structure into a clean energy source benefiting its patients and staff,” said Michael Vickerman, Clean Energy Deployment Manager, RENEW Wisconsin. “In terms of scale and design, this is an impressive project that should inspire other major employers in Wisconsin to integrate solar power into their new facilities.”

The panels were supplied by SunPeak, a Madison-based commercial solar developer. Eastpark is scheduled to begin welcoming patients in late October and is located across from East Madison Hospital.