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Milwaukee Public Museum to Add 234 Solar Panels

The Milwaukee Public Museum should begin generating electricity, by year's end. The museum is replacing its decaying marble facade with solar panels.

The museum has hired Milwaukee-based Helios to make the 234 solar panels, and preparation work began Monday, to remove the marble exterior from the eight-story museum tower. It was built nearly 50 years ago and has been weakening.

Once solar panels dominate the southern facade, the museum should generate more than 77,000 kilowatt hours of power each year. Planners say that amount could keep 442 lights on all day, for one year.

Work on the solar wall should take until the end of 2013.

During the first phase (lasting four weeks), the museum will close its butterfly and bugs exhibit.