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Monday, April 24, 2017

Madison and Middleton launch solar buying program; Madison earns “Gold” designation from national SolSmart program

For Immediate Release

More Information:
Katie Crawley, Mayor’s Office

Katherine Klausing, RENEW Wisconsin

April 24, 2017 – Madison. Today the Cities of Madison and Middleton announced the launch of the MadiSUN Solar Group Buy program, a collaborative program that helps residents easily and affordably invest in solar electric systems on their homes. The announcement continues the steady stream of renewable energy commitments and solar projects announced in Wisconsin, and follows 2016’s successful solar group buy program—the largest in Wisconsin to date.

Jay Edgar and Josh Feyen participated in the
2016 MadiSUN Group Buy.
The MadiSUN Solar Group Buy program will enable Madison and Middleton residents to “go solar” together.  Through the group buy program, a team of community members requests offers from solar companies across the region. The program then pre-qualifies a price and service provider to make it as easy as possible for people to join the program. The City’s investment in marketing and competitive bidding will drive down the cost for each participant. The cost of installing solar has never been lower, and households can receive a Federal Tax Credit for 30 percent of the system cost, while Wisconsin’s Focus on Energy program offers up to $2,000 in additional rebates.

The program, through its contractor RENEW Wisconsin, has begun recruiting interested households to participate. This summer, citizens can learn more and sign up at

Madison Mayor Paul Soglin lauded the group buy program. “These programs are proven vehicles for making rooftop solar more accessible and affordable for homeowners in the community, and that’s why we thank MadiSUN,” he said.

The City will partner Summit Credit Union to offer a special Solar Energy Loan Program where residents can finance 100 percent of a solar electric system with no fees or collateral. “Summit Credit Union is thrilled to continue partnering with the City of Madison bringing solar technology to the area,” they said in a statement.  Details on the MadiSUN loan program can be found on the website or by calling 800-236-0985.

Six educational events were also announced as part of the program, aimed at helping residents learn more about solar energy and the options available for installing solar. All events are free and open to the public. The dates, times, and locations information sessions are available at

Madison Mayor Paul Soglin accepts
SolSmart's "Gold" designation.
Madison earned a “gold” designation from SolSmart, the highest level of recognition from a national program under the U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative. The “gold” designation recognizes the city’s efforts to accelerate solar development, from improving permitting and zoning for solar, to investing in financing and solar workforce training programs.  Madison recently became the first community in Wisconsin to commit to a goal of 100 percent renewable energy. The City is already progressing toward that goal, including initiatives like a citywide solar apprenticeship program whose trainees will install another 100 kilowatts of solar on city facilities.

Middleton Mayor Gurdip Brar pointed to the city’s many solar developments in recent months, such as the 100kW atop the Middleton Police Station. “We at the City of Middleton are proud to work with our neighbors to bring the benefits of solar energy to all of our communities here,” he said. “Going forward, Middleton and Madison are going to be cooperating a lot more,” he said.

“2017 is going to be a great year for solar, and we encourage Middleton families to take advantage of this opportunity,” Brar said. “This is a great day for our communities.”

Jay Edgar and Josh Feyen use their solar panels
to power their hybrid-electric car.
Homeowners Josh Feyen and Jay Edgar hosted the event outside their home, where they installed 6 kW of solar panels in 2016 as part of that year’s MadiSUN Group Buy program.  The array also powers their new car, a hybrid-electric Chevrolet Volt.  Feyen estimates that the system will pay for itself through energy cost savings in about 10 years “and then we’re going to be getting about 20 years of free electricity, including charging our car three times per week. So if you think about it, we’re saving a lot of money from the energy we’re creating and the gasoline we’re not putting in our car,” said Feyen. They were also able to take advantage of the federal tax credit and rebates from the Focus on Energy program.

Feyen and Edgar have also been talking to family and friends about the benefits of the MadiSUN program. “We’ve kind of been Johnny Appleseed,” Edgar says.
Katherine Klausing, MadiSUN Program Manager,
gives concluding remarks at the 2017 launch.

MadiSUN Program Manager Katherine Klausing concluded by saying, “We’ve built a lot of momentum leading to this event. As successful as the past year has been, we believe 2017 is going to be even better.”

Sign up to learn more about the program at


Friday, April 21, 2017

Dane County Explores 30-acre Solar Project at Airport

Yesterday, Dane County Executive Joe Parisi announced that the County will study the feasibility of building a 6-megawatt solar project on 30 acres at the local airport.

Learn more: Dane County's Press Release and a Wisconsin State Journal article

Dane County Executive Joe Parisi, at Podium, with Michael Vickerman of RENEW Wisconsin (right), Mark Redsten of Clean Wisconsin (far left), and Elizabeth Katt Reinders of the Sierra club.

RENEW Wisconsin's Michael Vickerman was on-hand and delivered these remarks:

Seven months ago, County Executive Joe Parisi held a press conference to announce what was then the largest commitment by a local Wisconsin government to solar energy. This was the 770 kilowatts of solar that will serve the Alliant Energy Center and the Dane County Jobs Center, which will be installed this summer. As befitting such a milestone, he stood among local clean energy leaders and advocates, including me.

Standing here today with Joe, I am experiencing a very strong sense of déjà vu, for today’s announcement surpasses the clean energy bar he set last September. When this solar project is completed, which I expect will occur in the second half of 2018, it will become not only the largest solar project in Dane County, but also in the state of Wisconsin. We have businesses right here ready to construct and interconnect more than 15,000 solar panels on airport property, and every other County resident will benefit from the improvement to local air quality and the lift to the local economy.

There is a reason why so much solar energy activity is happening in our midst, and that is local leadership. We are fortunate to have political leaders in Dane County who not only recognize the value of locally produced clean energy for its citizenry, but also take all necessary and appropriate actions to integrate solar, biogas and other low-carbon resources into all facets of municipal operations. Leaders like County Executive Parisi to are grabbing the reins and plugging their communities into the 21st century energy landscape.

The local of the array is on the northeast side of the airport property, as shown below.