About the project

The Bear Creek Solar Project is an estimated 50-megawatt (MW) solar project located in Richland County, Wisconsin. The Bear Creek Solar Project will connect into the electrical transmission grid directly through the local substation. Now complete, the project positively impacts the environment and generates enough energy to power nearly 13,000 homes annually.

Fast facts

  • Location: Town of Buena Vista
  • Acreage: 456 acres
  • Timeline: Construction began in the summer of 2021 and was completed in the fall of 2022.

"This investment will have a positive impact on the lives of construction workers and their families in the communities where these projects are sited. … The commitment that (Alliant Energy) has made to hiring a local workforce to construct these projects truly represents a gold standard in a way that renewable energy and good-paying construction jobs for Wisconsin residents can coincide together while undoubtedly serving the public interest."

John Raines
North Central States Regional Council of Carpenters

Hear from more of our project supporters

Project updates

September 29, 2023

Our Bear Creek Solar Project has been operational for a full year! Through the first nine months of 2023, it produced enough energy to power approximately 90% of the households in Richland County. Our 1-year recap includes actions we're taking locally to provide more safe and reliable energy, as well as an update on our Boaz Microgrid and Janesville Community Solar garden.

Read further about this project update in our latest newsletter..pdf 

Economic benefits

  • The Bear Creek Solar Project will be a significant source of new local tax revenue, providing approximately $200,000 in annual shared revenue for the Town of Buena Vista and Richland County.
  • During construction, between 100 and 200 local union jobs will be created. This Midwest Economic Policy Study describes the benefits of using local union labor at little to no additional cost to customers.
  • Once operational, a few full-time employees will help ensure the project is running smoothly.
  • In addition, soil recovery during the project’s lifespan will protect agricultural land and preserve its value for future generations.

Environmental benefits

  • This project will feature grass and seed mixes surrounding the solar panels and throughout the solar arrays that will help build soil nutrients and create a pollinator-friendly habitat. Pollinator-friendly vegetation has been proven to prevent soil erosion and add benefit to high-value crops, creating a win-win for both human and wildlife communities.
  • Once the grass matures in four years following construction, the water quality of surrounding waterbodies is expected to improve because of reduced nitrogen, phosphorus, sediment, and biological oxygen demand entering these waterbodies. This improves the ecological health of the watershed and the quality of life for all inhabitants, as high loadings of these pollutants can produce excess algae growth and degrade the habitat in adjacent waterbodies.
  • Requiring only sunlight for fuel, the Bear Creek Solar Project represents a long-term reduction of traditional fossil fuels for energy generation, creating a clean environment and clean energy future for Wisconsin and the Midwest.

Solar and the Clean Energy Blueprint

The Bear Creek Solar Project is one of the 12 solar projects Alliant Energy has received approval to own and operate in Wisconsin. The projects span dozens of communities across nine counties. Collectively, these projects will add nearly 1,100 MW of solar energy generation to the state’s energy grid by the end of 2023 – enough to power nearly 300,000 homes.

These projects demonstrate our commitment to advancing clean energy and strengthening the communities we serve. They create an economic boost for communities and landowners while providing customers with reliable, environmentally friendly energy for decades to come.

Collectively, our solar projects, along with the rest of our Clean Energy Blueprint, are also a smart investment that will help customers avoid more than $1.6 billion in long-term costs. They will also provide steady revenue through new construction opportunities, create an estimated 2,000 construction jobs and provide approximately $300 million in revenues to local communities and landowners over an estimated project lifespan of 30 years.

As we move toward creating a healthier environment, these initiatives are positioning Alliant Energy to achieve net-zero carbon dioxide emissions from the electricity we generate by 2050.

Visit our Powering What's Next site for more details on our Clean Energy Blueprint.

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