Community solar is growing very quickly in Wisconsin, thanks to pioneering electric providers that see the value in connecting to the power of the sun.
What is it?
Community solar programs allow individuals to sponsor one or more solar panels amongst a much larger solar array. Vernon Electric Cooperative offered the first such program in Wisconsin in 2014, with 1,000 panels in a 305 kW project, which sold out in under a month!
Many customers who are interested in choosing renewable energy cannot install solar on their home or business due to roofs that face the wrong direction, too much shade, or other barriers. Community solar programs offer utility customers the option to virtually power their home or business with solar energy when they otherwise wouldn't be able to at a lower cost.
Who's Doing It?
Rural electric cooperatives in western Wisconsin took the lead in developing community solar gardens for their customers, and interest has now spread to municipals and investor-owned utilities. See the table below with current projects, both operational and in the works, as of June 2016.
|Utility-Sponsored Community Solar Projects in Wisconsin
(As of February 2017)
|Electric Provider||Location||Project Size
|Barron Electric Cooperative||Chetek||80||2014 - Constructed & Fully Subscribed|
|Bayfield Electric Cooperative||Iron River||320||2016 - Constructed & Accepting Subscriptions (90% Full)|
|Chippewa Valley Electric Cooperative||New Auburn||250*||2017 - Cooperative Solar Project; Construction Planned for 2017|
|Clark Electric Cooperative||Greenwood||40||2015 - Constructed & Accepting Subscriptions|
|Dunn Energy Cooperative||Menomonie||100*||2017 - Under Constrution & Accepting Subscriptions|
|Eau Claire Energy Cooperative||Fall River||670||2015 - Constructed & Accepting Subscriptions|
|Madison Gas & Electric
|Middleton||500||2017 - Placed in Service|
|New Richmond||250||2015 - Constructed & Accepting Subscriptions|
|Oakdale Electric Cooperative||Necedah||200*||2017 - Construction Underway & Accepting Subscriptions|
|Polk-Burnett Electric Cooperative||Centuria||250*||2017 - Construction Planned for 2017|
|Viola||100*||2016 - Under Construction & Accepting Subscriptions|
|River Falls||250||2015 - Constructed & Accepting Subscriptions|
|Riverland Energy Cooperative||Arcadia||150*||2017 - Construction Underway|
|Scenic Rivers Energy Cooperative||Eastman||250*||2017 - Construction Underway & Accepting Subscriptions.|
|Spooner Municipal Utilities||Spooner||400*||2017 - Construction Planned for 2017.|
|St. Croix Electric Cooperative||Hammond||80 (2014)
|Phase 1 operational in 2014, 144 kW expansion under construction.|
|Taylor Electric Cooperative||Medford||100||2015 - Constructed & Accepting Subscriptions|
|Vernon Electric Cooperative||Westby||235 (2014)
|Phase 1 operational in 2014, 264 kW expansion under construction.|
|2,000*||2016 - Construction Underway & Accepting Subscriptions|
|Total||2,525 in Operation
**kWAC means kilowatts of solar measured as AC (alternating current) capacity
Where is it happening?
See the map below of community solar projects in Wisconsin!
Want to learn more about community solar? Check out the resources below!