Solar group buy programs grew in 2018 to more than 1,420 kilowatts (kW) or 1.42 megawatts (MW) of installed distributed solar PV in 6 areas of Wisconsin surpassing the 1,286 kW from all Wisconsin group buy programs before (See Solar Energy Financing Guide , UW-Extension). Solar Group Buy programs involve homeowners primarily and some small businesses working with a co-sponsoring organization to purchase solar equipment and installation for their individual properties at a reduced volume-discount rate. The co-sponsoring organization helps to educate property owners and administer the contracting process with installers.
The 2018 six solar group buy program areas include Chequamegon Bay, Sauk County, Central Wisconsin, Jefferson County, Madison, and Southeast Wisconsin. TheChequamegon Bay Renewables Group Buy program contracted with Next Energy Solution resulting in 78 solar projects that will generate 470 kW of power. Solar Sauk County was a close second, working with the Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA) and installers Eagle Point Solar and All Sky Solar that signed on 67 properties for a total capacity of 448 kW.
The Glacial Heritage Solar program in greater Jefferson County also worked with MREA and included 18 homeowners where Full Spectrum Solar installed 139 kilowatts of solar. By generating electricity from solar on their homes, the average homeowner will save $1,183 in the first year alone. Collectively, the group will avoid emissions from burning around 128,380 lbs of coal in the first year. Solar Central Wisconsin, which encompasses Marathon, Portage, Waupaca, and Wood counties, with MREA and Mid-State Technical College’s assistance, is closing in on 177 kW on 32 projects.
The MadiSUN program reached 20 homeowners to install 98 kW. RENEW Wisconsin administers the program, contracted with Full Spectrum Solar and Midwest Solar Power to complete the work. The Southeast WI Solar Group Buy has 11 families and 1 organization generating 88.2 kW of power installed by Arch Electric with 17 youth assistant apprentices from the Great Lakes Community Conservation Corp.