O’Brien Solar Fields

Field of dreams

It’s Dane County’s biggest solar project yet – the O’Brien Solar Fields, one of the state’s largest generators of renewable energy.

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  1. Libbey said:

    So glad to see the effort to move to renewable energy. Family farming is a diminishing endeavor. I hope this can continue to grow.

    at 2:05 pm on April 7, 2022
  2. George Krug said:

    Great project and great video story.

    Thank you!

    at 2:07 pm on April 7, 2022
  3. James F. Monroe said:

    Nice. I’m so glad we’re investing in these solar farms!

    at 2:09 pm on April 7, 2022
  4. Paul Weiss said:

    very cool. or warm. or whatever season one needs electricity!

    at 2:10 pm on April 7, 2022
  5. Nick said:

    I ride my bike by that farm, now solar array, all the time. It’s nice to put a name and face with it now!

    at 2:13 pm on April 7, 2022
  6. Sara Ashton said:

    I am all for renewable energy and sustainability. I am proud to live in such a progressive community. The steps and strides that Dane county is making are amazing!

    at 2:23 pm on April 7, 2022
  7. STEVEN WALTER said:

    The more solar the better, Next we cane raise them higher of the ground so they can plant crops under them.

    at 2:28 pm on April 7, 2022
  8. Larry Hartzke said:

    Good to see this! I hope to soon design and build an all-electric ultra-low-energy home with PV panels equivalent to my electricity usage. Consider using the space between and under the arrays of panels for local agricultural crops! That’s already being done in Colorado.

    at 2:28 pm on April 7, 2022
  9. Susan said:

    I’m so curious how you keep the grass under control around the panels? Mower, goats, chemicals?

    at 2:31 pm on April 7, 2022
  10. Richard Attix said:

    I’ve driven by that field several times a week for a few years now, and I watched as “something interesting” was going on out there over time, but I had no idea what it was. Eventually the panels started going up onto the scaffolding, and it became apparent what was being built. I am all for renewable energy, and I’m pleased that this was obviously a win-win for the farmer and the local power grid as well. Now we just need more of the same!

    at 2:47 pm on April 7, 2022
  11. Renee Forrest said:

    I’m so proud of my friend, Pat O’Brien, for co-creating this new field of dreams on his farm!

    at 2:49 pm on April 7, 2022
  12. Rick Owens said:

    Does MG &E have plans to facilitate moderately sized decentralized solar arrays for neighborhood developments? This would seem to be a logical addition to our local and regional zoning regs to minimize straining and imbalances of the existing power grids. Developers could incorporate a significant percentage of the new power needs as a permanent asset of new neighborhood plans, a real selling point with the uncertainties of worsening climate swings.

    at 3:03 pm on April 7, 2022
  13. Nola Risse-Connolly said:

    Nice! I’m wondering how much bigger this field is than the one out by the airport.

    at 3:05 pm on April 7, 2022
  14. Chris Eckerman said:

    I loved watching this! We all need to know that good things are possible and that they are happening. Thank you MG&E AND the O’Brien family!

    at 3:10 pm on April 7, 2022
  15. bob conner said:

    In the 70s Madison was the first to start a recycling program. It strived to place the importance of our nature and the impact of our use of the land & the link between the two. I signed up for Green Power when it just started. Still, decades later I am still telling people about it and they are unaware it exists. I cannot wait until we are 100% Renewable energy.

    at 3:13 pm on April 7, 2022
  16. Erhard Joeres said:

    I see a great advantage here of working with farmers who see economic benefit for themselves, as opposed to land confiscation by eminent domain which can raise a lot of local opposition.

    at 3:18 pm on April 7, 2022
  17. Janet Battista said:

    Good project, but make it better with appropriate native plants! Lots of consultants in Dane County who could give advice on best plants to use.

    at 3:30 pm on April 7, 2022
  18. Betty Van Leuven said:

    Great project, hopefully more to come.

    at 3:31 pm on April 7, 2022
  19. Barb Brown said:

    I ride my bicycle by that corner and am looking forward to seeing the solar panels!

    at 3:48 pm on April 7, 2022
  20. Hammad N. said:

    Great to see the investment in solar! Love it

    at 5:19 pm on April 7, 2022
  21. Rita H said:

    An excellent management of farm resources to change to solar panels and ability to move to renewable energy, making it more green.

    at 5:33 pm on April 7, 2022
  22. Ross DePaola said:

    What a win-win project for Fitchburg and the surrounding area! Consider adding crops that would provide soil-based carbon sequestration. That would make projects like this even more effective. Many thanks to the O’Brien family – you are heroes!

    at 5:43 pm on April 7, 2022
  23. Sarah said:

    So cool! Love that we’re investing in clean energy while keeping it local

    at 6:01 pm on April 7, 2022
  24. Roger Tesch said:

    I love this new field of dreams and what it will make available for Fitchburg and beyond. It was also great to see a view from above and how it fits in.

    at 9:19 pm on April 7, 2022
  25. Donna said:

    Congratulations to the O’Brian family for a remarkable legacy.

    at 9:30 pm on April 7, 2022
  26. Carl Fernandez said:

    It looks wonderful. I hope everyone involved continues to explore creative ways to multi use the land such as goats or pollinator plants.

    at 9:46 pm on April 7, 2022
  27. Nancy Gondzur said:

    I appreciate the progressive nature of this partnership between MG&E and the O’Brien’s. It’s obvious much thought went into the planning of this project to ensure it’s success. Congratulations!

    at 11:59 pm on April 7, 2022
  28. Carol Berglund said:

    Thank you for doing it!

    at 12:23 am on April 8, 2022
  29. Douglas Otto said:

    is there any way to monitor the hourly output of the solar field?

    at 3:44 am on April 8, 2022
  30. John O Evenson said:

    Excellent project. It’s a win for everyone! Hopefully we can accelerate the pace to construct new projects like it.

    at 8:43 am on April 8, 2022
  31. Joan Bazan said:

    This is an Awesome idea! I am so glad you are able to keep your farm plus this is the cleanest form of energy around!. I bet with the area let you could always plant clover and such to help the pollinators. No care, no mow and energy all around.

    at 8:59 am on April 8, 2022
  32. DeAnna Braaksma said:

    The idea of collecting reflective sunlight from the snow was a new concept to me. I appreciate your video and the learning experience.

    at 9:22 am on April 8, 2022
  33. Brady said:

    This made me so happy! Nothing like local farmers producing our local energy. I hope this helps make it financially possible to keep this farm in the O’Brien Family for generations to come. Forward Wisconsin!

    at 9:35 am on April 8, 2022
  34. Debra Houston said:

    This is Fitchburg~ The O’Brien Farm~ Community

    at 10:22 am on April 8, 2022
  35. Dorothy O'Neill said:

    I’ve been a fan of renewable energy for years. I love seeing the solar panels and windmills, and I hope the industry continues growing.

    at 11:01 am on April 8, 2022
  36. Mark Landmark said:

    Thanks for the history of the farm and its new contribution to solar energy.

    at 2:45 pm on April 8, 2022
  37. David said:

    This field is near my home, and I was wondering whether MG&E had something to do with it!

    at 12:50 am on April 9, 2022
  38. Rong Xiao said:

    Solar really is our future of energy.

    at 6:45 am on April 9, 2022
  39. Fei Xiao said:

    Love to hear stories such as Solar in our local community. Great job!

    at 6:49 am on April 9, 2022
  40. Stuart Utley said:

    What a great transition for the farm that formerly used the sun to grow crops and now uses it to grow businesses and communities, all while allowing those who were stewards of the land for so long to retire and passively keep serving their neighbors! Excellent use of bifacial solar tracking panels too! Any thoughts on possible prairie restoration or other under panel vegetation?

    at 7:14 am on April 10, 2022
  41. Cynthia Albrecht said:

    Thanks for working toward a renewable energy future. I look forward to touring the facility in the future.

    at 11:38 pm on April 10, 2022
  42. Morgan A said:

    Investment in renewal energies gives me hope for the future of our planet and our children.

    at 11:10 am on April 11, 2022
  43. Elizabeth Niblack-Sykes said:

    Love the dual-sided panels! Glad to see more renewable energy. Any thoughts on shading parking lots (or top floors of ramps) with solar panels? More comfortable cars, and more solar energy!

    at 11:15 pm on April 11, 2022

    Congratulations to our cousins, Pat & Mike Obrien and the Obrien family. A dream come True! Glad that the land will stay with the family and its history.

    at 6:11 pm on April 12, 2022
  45. Ray Wagner said:

    Cudoes to MG&E and the O’Briens, green energy is the future..

    at 4:41 pm on April 13, 2022
  46. Gary McFall said:

    Thanks for sharing this wonderful story. I had no idea this was located here. Anxious to take a look & share w/ our grandkids as hope for the future.

    at 10:02 am on April 14, 2022
  47. Adelaide M Fiske said:

    Impressive!! From Concept to Reality.

    at 4:27 pm on April 20, 2022
  48. Michelle Buerger said:

    I hope that more solar farms are developed. Thanks for the story!

    at 12:27 pm on May 1, 2022
  49. Jon said:

    In my youth, this was regarded as the best farmland in the Fitchburg Township. Now gone to solar field of dreams.

    at 2:16 pm on July 29, 2022


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