Community Solar Options Piloted Across Wisconsin

MGE launched sales of its pilot “shared” 500 kilowatt solar electric project being built on the City of Middleton’s operation center roof.  Designed to provide locally generated clean electricity to residential customers, it is available to anyone in the MGE service territory. Participants pay a one-time participation fee based on 10 percent of the amount of solar panels purchased (for example, $472.50 for half the average household use of 6,600 kWh per month), and receive a guaranteed fixed electric rate of $0.12 per kilowatt hour (kWh) for 25 years for up to half of their electric use. The remaining 50 percent or more will be billed at the standard rate.  Currently, the solar electric charge is 2.8 cents per kilowatt hour higher than the standard rate. For more detailed information: video and website.

Another model is the Legacy Solar Co-op approach just successfully completed by Willy Street Co-op East (see photo caption). Also an opportunity for those who can’t or don’t want to install their own solar system, this is an investment option in a revolving solar loan fund where participants buy a bond with a 3-5 percent yield in either 7 or 25 years (EOW News July, 2016).

Several other variations of community solar programs in Wisconsin include Vernon Electric Coop Community Solar Farm, Taylor Electric Coop Community Solar (EOW News Oct/Nov 2015), the LaFarge Municipal Utility Community Solar (EOW News Jan/Feb 2016), and Excel community solar gardens for La Crosse and Eau Claire (EOW News March 2016).