Press Release

Milwaukee Hopes to Build on Record Year for Solar Installations

Solar Group Purchase Program Expands to Solar Bay View

Milwaukee, WI – After Milwaukee set a record in 2013 for number of solar installations, the City’s solar program is hoping to build on that record by expanding its successful solar group purchase program.

In 2013, more than 30 solar installations went on rooftops around the City. This far outpaces the most recent years (10 installs in 2012, and 12 installs in 2011). Part of the dramatic increase was the success of Milwaukee’s pilot solar group buy program, Solar Riverwest. The pilot program was a public-private partnership to help residents invest in lower cost solar installations through the power of volume-purchasing. During the pilot program over 17 residents installed solar on rooftops, reducing energy bills and generating clean electricity.

More residents are learning that solar, now at record low prices, is more viable than what some may have originally thought.  “The solar group buy model has proven successful because it provides education on the technology, financing solutions, and utilizes the strength of volume purchasing to bring the cost down even more,” said Amy Heart, City of Milwaukee’s Solar Program Manager.  “With this program, we’re not adding additional incentives, but we are generating educated customers ready to make a positive change for their long term energy bills rand their community,” said Heart.

Solar Bay View officially kicks off on Wednesday, February 19 with a special event at Sugar Maple, 441 E. Lincoln Ave. Homeowners must enroll in the program by May 2014.

Solar Bay View  is being led by Riverwest Cooperative Alliance with support from the City of Milwaukee’s solar program, Milwaukee Shines, and the Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA). The program is open to Milwaukee-area residents outside of Bay View, but its main focus will be within the neighborhood.  For details on the program and upcoming education sessions, visit www.SolarBayView.org.

“The concept of a group-purchasing program fits right in with the principles of cooperatives everywhere. People come together to meet an otherwise unmet need,” said Peter Murphy, who works with the Riverwest Cooperative Alliance, a organization comprised of local cooperatives working to build community. “In this case, the Bay View neighborhood has a unique opportunity to show the rest of Milwaukee how people power can accomplish meaningful and practical goals, like energy independence.”

How it Works:

§  Reduced Price: Through Solar Bay View homeowners come together to purchase and install solar as a community, which saves significant costs as a result of bulk purchasing and installing of solar electric panels. The more residents that participate, the lower cost will be for everyone.

§  Education:  Solar Bay View will help neighbors decide where to start, what to budget, and who to hire. The MREA and Riverwest Cooperative Alliance will provide educational sessions with to provide the basics of solar, an overview of financing incentive solutions, and details on how to enroll in the program.

§  Customer Enrollment: A homeowner can enroll in the program between February-April 2014. The enrollment allows customers to receive bids from selected installer. After receiving the cost estimate, the customer will decide whether or not to move forward with the project.

§  Installer Selected: The Solar Bay View team will select a contractor through a completive bid process to ensure quality work at a low cost to customers. The chosen installer will provide FREE bids to each participating homeowner to help them decide if solar is a good choice.

§  Incentives and Financing Solutions: Solar Bay View will also help customers connect with other incentives and financing solutions.  Incentives include a 30% federal tax credit and a WI Focus on Energy cash-back incentive. Milwaukee homeowners can also utilize low-interest solar loans through Milwaukee Shines Soar Financing to help cover the balance of a system cost.

INFO SESSIONS:  Attend one of the upcoming SOLAR BAY VIEW educational sessions to learn how you can add solar to your home or small business! All are free and open to the public.

SOLAR BAY VIEW KICK-OFF

Wednesday, February 19 at 6 pm
Sugar Maple
441 E Lincoln Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53207

OTHER SOLAR BAY VIEW SESSIONS:

Saturday, March 8 at 3 pm
Colectivo Bay View
2301 S. Kinnickinnic Ave,  Milwaukee, WI 53207

Wednesday, March 12 at 6 pm
Outpost Foods – Bay View
2826 S Kinnickinnic Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53207

Wednesday, March 26 at 6 pm
Bay View Library
2566 S Kinnickinnic Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53207

Sunday, March 30 at 6 pm
Anodyne Coffee – Bay View Cafe
2920 S. Kinnickinnic Ave, Milwaukee, WI  53207

Monday, April 7 at 6 pm
Mercy Hill Church
2625 S. Greeley St, Milwaukee, WI 53207
(Hide House 1st Floor)

Saturday, April 19 at 3 pm
Outpost Foods – Bay View
2826 S. Kinnickinnic Ave, Milwaukee, WI  53207

Contacts:

Amy Heart, City of Milwaukee Solar Program Coordinator
Milwaukee Shines
aheart@milwaukee.gov
O: 414-286-5593, C: 414-510-8965

Peter Murphy, Solar Bay View Coordinator
Riverwest Cooperative Alliance
events@riverwestpublichouse.org
262-573-3089

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