RENEW Wisconsin
Press Release

Escuela Verde Trains Students and Installs Solar Power with Help from Solar for Good

The solar array will directly supply the school building with renewable energy and will offset about 32% of the school’s electrical use.

By - Nov 28th, 2018 01:32 pm

Milwaukee, WI – On Thursday, December 6th at 10:30 AM, Escuela Verde, along with local school children, SunVest Solar, RENEW Wisconsin, and the City of Milwaukee, will celebrate its recent installation of solar panels. The school will hold a ribbon-cutting to showcase the project and educate members of the public on the benefits of solar power.

SunVest completed the 20.3 kilowatt (kW) installation in June, and the panels have already prevented over 1,100 lbs. of carbon from entering the atmosphere. The solar array will directly supply the school building with renewable energy and will offset about 32% of the school’s electrical use, which will free up more funds for the school’s educational programs. SunVest estimates the panels will save the school $113,000 over the lifetime of the array.

“It was an honor to work on Escuela Verde’s solar project, because the impact goes far beyond a reduction in the school’s energy bills,” said Project Developer Catie Malcheski of SunVest. “This serves as a tangible opportunity for the students to learn about how energy works, why renewable energy is important, and how we can all have a positive impact on the environment through the decisions we make.”

The project was part of a sustainability upgrade for the school, but Escuela Verde was also able to use the installation as a teaching lesson. Midwest Renewable Energy Association partnered with the school to train students on the solar installation process. The training was so successful that one student, Daniel Rodriguez, was later hired by Current Electric of Brookfield.

“It was incredible to see students get so engaged in the process, from moving the donated panels, to learning about the science behind solar, to getting trained and hired to install PV,” said Joey Zocher of Escuela Verde. “We even have a senior this year tracking the energy production and exploring ways our school can conserve energy”

Escuela Verde relied on donated panels from Helios, a solar panel manufacturer. The panels varied in both size and wattage, making this a rather unique installation. The 60 panels amounted to nearly a $22,000 donation from Helios. The school also received multiple grants, including a $6,855 award from Focus on Energy, a statewide energy efficiency program, and a $4,000 contribution from Milwaukee Shines, the City of Milwaukee’s Environmental Collaboration Office.

“We want to congratulate Escuela Verde on their solar installation and commend the collaborations that helped make this install so unique,” said Elizabeth Hittman, Sustainability Program Coordinator for the City of Milwaukee. “The City is thrilled that Escuela Verde is helping to advance a clean energy future here in Milwaukee.”

Solar for Good, an initiative from the renewable energy advocates at RENEW Wisconsin provided an additional grant for the project. Solar for Good is primarily funded by philanthropists Cal and Laurie Couillard of Deerfield, WI. Escuela Verde received a $10,000 grant from Solar for Good in

Sam Dunaiski, Program Manager for RENEW Wisconsin said, “The relationship between Escuela Verde and their numerous partners is one of those great success stories we don’t hear often enough. Not only is Escuela Verde offsetting electricity costs and helping the environment, they’re giving back to the community and empowering the next generation, all at the same time.”

Solar for Good has awarded over $200,000 in grants, resulting in over $1.6 million in new solar projects. Grants have been issued to 24 Wisconsin nonprofit organizations including houses of worship, veterans’ services, and schools. These nonprofits will produce 730kW of clean, renewable electricity, enough to power nearly 150 homes.

How to Apply

The fall 2018 round of Solar for Good funding was completed November 2018. Another round of funding will be announced March 1, 2019. Solar for Good grants fund up to 20% of the cost of a solar array, with a grant cap of $10,000 for solar arrays under 75 kW and a cap of $20,000 for arrays 75 kW and above.

For organizations looking at solar for the first time, technical assistance grants are available to fund a solar site assessment or engineering review 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 on RENEW’s website: www.renewwisconsin.org    2018 to assist in the funding of the solar array.

Sam Dunaiski, Program Manager for RENEW Wisconsin said, “The relationship between Escuela Verde and their numerous partners is one of those great success stories we don’t hear often enough. Not only is Escuela Verde offsetting electricity costs and helping the environment, they’re giving back to the community and empowering the next generation, all at the same time.”

Solar for Good has awarded over $200,000 in grants, resulting in over $1.6 million in new solar projects. Grants have been issued to 24 Wisconsin nonprofit organizations including houses of worship, veterans’ services, and schools. These nonprofits will produce 730kW of clean, renewable electricity, enough to power nearly 150 homes.

How to Apply

The fall 2018 round of Solar for Good funding was completed November 2018. Another round of funding will be announced March 1, 2019. Solar for Good grants fund up to 20% of the cost of a solar array, with a grant cap of $10,000 for solar arrays under 75 kW and a cap of $20,000 for arrays 75 kW and above.

For organizations looking at solar for the first time, technical assistance grants are available to fund a solar site assessment or engineering review 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 on RENEW’s website: www.renewwisconsin.org

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