Solar Group Buy Program Hits First Benchmark In Central Wisconsin
CENTRAL WISCONSON — Nick Hylla, executive director of the Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA), hits refresh on his browser and watches as the Solar Central Wisconsin Group Buy progress tracker reveals that the program has met its first benchmark.
“We launched the program in late July and by mid-August we hit our first benchmark of 50 kW of solar contracted through the program. This means the average participant will now receive a $500 rebate on their system,” explains Hylla.
MREA launched its second installment of “Solar Central Wisconsin” to support continued investment in solar energy throughout the region. The program’s goal is to support people and businesses in central Wisconsin, and help them purchase solar electric systems as a group in order to leverage discounts through bulk purchasing.
The program lowers costs by leveraging the power of volume purchasing. MREA and partners see the program as a way to build communities that are powered by locally produced solar electricity, and help participants save on their monthly utility bills. The program sets benchmarks along the way, and once those benchmarks are met, more rebates are triggered for all program participants, making the cost per system even more affordable.
To date, the program has 12 signed contracts from participants, totaling 58.86 kW of clean solar energy to be installed. All participants will now receive a minimum rebate of $.05 per watt on their systems. The next benchmark is set at 100 kW, in which a rebate of $.10 per watt will be triggered for all participants. The maximum rebate is $.15 per watt and would result in a $1,500 rebate for the average participant. The deadline for interested parties to sign contracts is October 15th.
Active community education about the benefits of solar is the core of the group buy program. Navigating the solar market can be intimidating and create barriers for solar adoption. MREA and partners are hosting a series of free Solar Power Hours to generate interest in the program. These information sessions are one hour in length and teach attendees the basics of solar, its financial implications, and how the Solar Central Wisconsin Group Buy Program works. Interested attendees can register for a free, no obligation site assessment from the competitively-selected solar installer, North Wind Renewable Energy Cooperative.
Solar Group Buy programs are happening across the country as a grassroots movement to power cities and communities with clean-renewable solar energy. Solar Group Buys not only result in reduced utility bills and cheaper solar for participants, but benefit residents by offsetting the amount of harmful pollutants that come from fossil fuel generation and result in cleaner air, water, and healthier communities.
To date, MREA’s Group Buy Programs have resulted in 650 solar installations in the Midwest. Interested residents and businesses throughout Marathon, Portage, Waupaca, and Wood counties have until October 15th to participate in the Solar Central Wisconsin Group Buy program.
The next Solar Power Hour presentation is set for Thursday, September 6, at MREA’s headquarters at 7558 Deer Road, Custer, WI 54423. For the full list of upcoming Solar Power Hour information sessions visit www.cwsolar.org.
The Solar Central Wisconsin Group Buy is supported by The Community Foundation of Central Wisconsin.