Untapped potential: Rooftop solar could meet 2/3 of Wisconsin’s electricity needs, study finds

Wisconsin’s rooftops could support enough solar panels to meet two-thirds of the state’s electricity needs, generating more electricity than all fossil fuel sources combined last year. Yet a new study predicts fewer than 2% of those panels are likely to be installed under current market conditions.

That’s because many people can’t afford the upfront costs of solar panels and lack financing options or don’t control their roofs — either because they rent or live in multifamily housing, according to a report released in October [this week] by the Public Service Commission.

… the report concludes the most effective strategy for accelerating adoption is a statewide policy requiring utilities to offer “net metering,” in which customers are credited for any excess energy sent to the grid and billed only for their net electricity use…

A separate Cadmus study found cost-effective energy-efficiency improvements could reduce overall electricity use by about 2% a year, though only about half of those savings would be realized under current policies. Despite solar’s upfront costs, the report found residential and commercial rooftop solar is just as cost-effective as some of the more expensive energy-efficiency measures, such as heating and cooling equipment…READ the ARTICLE