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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Press Release: New ‘Solar for Good’ program to fund Wisconsin nonprofit organizations to install solar energy

Wednesday September 20, 2017, Madison.

For Immediate Release

For More Information
Katherine Klausing, RENEW Wisconsin
608-255-4044 x5, 614-406-1105

Solar for Good, a new initiative from the renewable energy advocates at RENEW Wisconsin, will offer grant funding to assist mission-based Wisconsin nonprofit organizations with installing solar panels on their facilities.

The grant program was created and funded entirely by a donation from local philanthropists Cal and Laurie Couillard of Deerfield.

With solar installation costs falling dramatically and public enthusiasm on the rise, more and more people and businesses have installed solar in recent years, and the program seeks to expand the benefits of solar to not-for-profit organizations.

“We know that the solar energy boom is having a positive impact on our Wisconsin communities, from creating good local jobs to cleaning our air and water,” said Tyler Huebner, Executive Director of RENEW Wisconsin. “That’s why we are very excited to help more nonprofit organizations and houses of worship, who are working every day to improve our communities, join the solar movement.”

Solar for Good will award a total of $125,000 in grants to nonprofit organizations and houses of worship to assist them in installing solar electricity systems. The grant program will fund up to 20% of the cost of a solar project, with a grant cap of $10,000 for solar projects sized less than 75 kW and a grant cap of $20,000 for projects 75 kW and above. Solar for Good will also offer small grants for technical assistance, including professional solar site assessments and engineering services, to get projects started and see them through to success.

By installing their own solar projects, these organizations will be able to generate their own clean, renewable energy, save money on their utility bills, and reinvest the energy cost savings back into their missions.

RENEW Wisconsin and Solar for Good aim to use the grants to help organizations going solar to spread the word about their solar investments and educate their communities about the benefits of solar energy.

The cost of installing solar panels has fallen by over half in the past five years. With these lower costs, we have an opportunity to make sure that all segments of our community can receive the many benefits of solar energy, including a lower electricity bill and an energy source we can feel good about,” said Katherine Klausing, Engagement Manager at RENEW Wisconsin.  “As leaders and messengers, these organizations can demonstrate how solar energy really benefits everyone, not just the traditional ‘early-adopters’.”

The fund was started by a single family, “but their dream is that we would grow this initiative beyond a single round of funding,” added Huebner. “If there are other philanthropists out there who care about renewable energy and want to invest in local community organizations, we encourage them to reach out to RENEW Wisconsin and consider supporting this new initiative.”

The program will run in concert with Focus on Energy rebates which are also available for many nonprofit organizations in Wisconsin.  Beyond those rebates, homeowners and businesses can take advantage of tax credits which enable them to lower the costs of solar investment. This program is focused on mission-driven non-profits who would not benefit from those tax credits.

How to Apply
Organizations can learn more and apply at http://renewwisconsin.org/action/SolarforGood.htm

In order to be eligible, the organization must be a registered nonprofit organization located in Wisconsin, be in good financial standing, be ready to install solar and agree to participate in educating community members about the benefits of solar energy. If approved for a grant, all fundraising, design and installation for the solar project must be completed within 12 months. The program is geared towards mission-based, primarily 501(c)3 organizations, and is not designed for local governments or schools.

Applications for this round of funding must be received by Monday November 13th 2017. Decisions and funding announcements will be made by Monday December 11th, 2017.

For organizations looking at solar for the first time, technical assistance grants are available to fund a solar site assessment (up to $250) or engineering review (up to $500) for their solar array. These applications will be reviewed separately from the applications for grants for solar installation and will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. 

About RENEW Wisconsin
RENEW Wisconsin is a nonprofit organization which promotes renewable energy in Wisconsin. We work on policies and programs that support solar power, wind power, biogas, local hydropower, and geothermal energy. More information is available on RENEW’s website: www.renewwisconsin.org


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