Alliant Energy adds solar and battery system at DNR site near Sauk City 

New clean energy alternative to power buildings on Black Hawk Unit property 
MADISON, WI – April 28, 2020 – An Alliant Energy solar generation and battery storage project will provide power to a park building and cabin when they reopen later this year just south of Sauk City, Wisconsin. The new system replaces an overhead line that previously brought electricity to the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) structures. 

“The electrical line that ran from the power pole to the recreation area was near the end of its useful life and needed to be rebuilt,” said Michael Graves, Alliant Energy senior engineer. “It became clear that doing so would be challenging and costly due to the rocky and steep terrain it traveled over. So, we pulled a group together to look at other options.”

An Alliant Energy project team collaborated with DNR staff and found a creative, clean-energy and cost-effective solution called a microgrid. Microgrids are a compressed version of the larger electric grid and provide power to a smaller area. It includes a small solar array and an affiliated battery to store the renewable power and operates separately from the larger grid.

“Building the microgrid was about half the cost of rebuilding the overhead line,” Graves said. “Another benefit is that we’re using the location as a pilot project. We’ll monitor how it performs and see if it can be used as a model for other parts of our service area.” 

The microgrid was energized earlier this year. It includes a six-kilowatt solar generation system, a 42-kilowatt-hour battery, a charge controller, inverter and cellular communications. It will provide power for lighting and a water pump at the DNR building and cabin in the more than 800-acre Black Hawk Unit of the Lower Wisconsin Riverway. The recreational area will now be powered entirely by renewable energy.

“Not only does this project further our organizational effort to transition to green energy, but it also improves the natural beauty of the area by removing the visible power lines,” said DNR Secretary’s Director Mark Aquino. “We are proud to partner with Alliant Energy on the project and look forward to having it provide electricity to our Black Hawk Ridge area of the Riverway anytime the area is open to visitors.”

The microgrid, which will typically be used seasonally from May through October, is located about 3.5 miles south of Sauk City. It sits near the end of Watcher Road, which is accessible via State Highway 78. 

Alliant Energy Corporation (NASDAQ: LNT) provides regulated energy service to 970,000 electric and 420,000 natural gas customers across Iowa and Wisconsin. Alliant Energy's mission is to deliver the energy solutions and exceptional service customers and communities count on – safely, efficiently and responsibly. Interstate Power and Light Company and Wisconsin Power and Light Company are Alliant Energy's two public energy companies. Alliant Energy is a component of the Nasdaq CRD Sustainability Index, Bloomberg’s 2020 Gender-Equality Index, and the S&P 500. For more information, visit and follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.