FOND DU LAC (NBC 26) — Mercury Marine is building a solar array—also called a solar farm—in eastern Fond du Lac County, thanks to a partnership with Alliant Energy. The 5-megawatt, 32-acre project will generate electricity to power the equivalent of 1,300 homes and will offset the Mercury Marine Fond du Lac campus's energy usage by 10%.
“We're a company that's here in Fond du Lac, that is here to stay, and we’re advancing what we can through sustainability and renewable energy," said Scott Louks, the Mercury Marine sustainability manager.
This facility will be located on a privately-owned family farm in eastern Fond du Lac. Because of this setting, it has one particularly unique aspect: sheep, which Louks describes as "groundskeepers" of the facility. And the relationship is symbiotic, as the sheep reap the benefits of the solar panels as well.
“The solar project is a great fit for our grazing flock because the animals will get the extra benefit of shade in their pasture under their solar panels where currently they are grazing in a field and don't have the extra benefit of shade," Farm owner Olivia Halbur said.
Mercury Marine is paying for all costs to tie the solar facility to the power grid, but they could not disclose the project's price tag.
The energy will be distributed through a partnership with Alliant Energy.
"We're pleased to help them move in the right direction because we know sustainability and renewable energy is the future," Chris Caporale, Alliant Energy communications partner, said.
The project is slated to be completed by spring of next year.
Mercury Marine took on its first solar project in 2017—with a 2,000-panel array at the company’s eastern headquarters in Belgium. Its first solar project in the U.S. was at its world headquarters in Fond du Lac, where it installed 320 panels on its roof.