Community Solar

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 June 2016)
Electric Provider Location Project Size
(in kWDC)
Status
Barron Electric Cooperative Chetek 80 2014 - Constructed & Fully Subscribed
Bayfield Electric Cooperative Iron River 250 2016 - Project Approved & Accepting Subscriptions
Clark Electric Cooperative Greenwood 73 2015 - Constructed & Accepting Subscriptions
Dunn Energy Cooperative Menomonie 100 Planning Underway
Eau Claire Energy Cooperative Fall River 865 2015 - Constructed & Accepting Subscriptions
Madison Gas & Electric
(Investor-Owned)
Middleton 500 Tariff Approved
New Richmond
(municipal)
New Richmond 250 2015 - Constructed & Accepting Subscriptions
Oakdale Electric Cooperative Oakdale 200 2016 - Accepting Subscriptions
Richland Electric
Cooperative
Hillsboro 100 2016 - Under Construction & Accepting Subscriptions
River Falls
(municipal)
River Falls 250 2015 - Constructed & Accepting Subscriptions
Riverland Energy Cooperative Arcadia 144 2016 - Accepting Subscriptions
Scenic Rivers Energy Cooperative Darlington 244 2016 - Accepting Subscriptions.
St. Croix Electric Cooperative Hammond 103 Phase 1 operational in 2014, 144 kW expansion underway.
Taylor Electric Cooperative Medford 100 2015 - Constructed & Accepting Subscriptions
Vernon Electric Cooperative Westby 305 Phase 1 operational in 2014, 300 kW expansion underway.
Xcel Energy
(Investor-Owned)
La Crosse,
Eau Claire
2,000 2016 - Program Launched & Accepting Subscriptions


Where is it happening?

See the map below of community solar projects in Wisconsin!




Resources

Want to learn more about community solar? Check out the resources below!

  • Joe McDonald, CEO of Vernon Electric Cooperative, was a keynote speaker at our 2015 Policy Summit. View his presentation or video of his speech to hear more about Vernon Electric's Community Solar Garden.
  • Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA) Utility Community Solar Handbook
  • U.S. Department of Energy A Guide to Community Solar: Utility, Private, and Non-Profit Project Development

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