Group solar program surpasses second goal
For Hub City Times
CUSTER — The ongoing Solar Central Wisconsin program has surpassed its second goal of solar energy systems purchased, ensuring the average customer will receive more than a $500 rebate. Fourteen area home and business owners have now purchased systems as part of the program, exceeding 100 kilowatts of installed capacity, and another 20 are currently reviewing proposals after their free site assessments.
More than 100 area residents have attended free information sessions about Solar Central Wisconsin since it began in July. The program allows individual home and business owners throughout Waupaca, Portage, Wood, and Marathon Counties access to lower prices for solar installations through the power of volume purchasing, competitive bidding, and customer education.
“As an elementary school science teacher, my curriculum includes environmental awareness. This unit includes teaching about renewable energy sources. After several years of ‘talking the talk,’ I finally decided that it was time to ‘walk the walk.’ When I started looking into a solar photovoltaic system, it was mostly out of curiosity. The more that I learned about it, the more sense it made,” said Jim Peterson of Auburndale, who recently signed up for a 7.4-kilowatt array. “The system that we selected is projected to produce up to 90 percent of our energy needs. Between the federal tax credit, Focus on Energy rebate, and the Central Wisconsin Group Buy program, we could save over 45 percent of the cost of our system. We are anxiously awaiting the installation of our system and the opportunity to produce our own energy while reducing our carbon footprint.”
The program is led by the Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA) in partnership with Mid-State Technical College and the cities of Wisconsin Rapids and Stevens Point and builds off MREA’s 14 previous programs in four Midwest states.
“We are very excited to see the strong interest that central Wisconsin homes and (businesses) have in going solar,” said Nick Hylla, MREA’s executive director. “After working in communities in Illinois, Iowa, and Minnesota, it is very rewarding to bring this program to the area where our organization was founded and where we continue to employ 13 local residents.”
Solar Central Wisconsin has two remaining information sessions. Further information can be found at CWSolar.org. The deadline to sign up for the program is Sept. 30.