2018 Group Buy to Kick Off in March
If you wish to be notified by email about developments in our 2018 Project, please use the Contact Form here.
Twenty one residences and three businesses in Racine and Kenosha Counties committed to producing their own clean renewable energy in 2017 by participating in the Southeast Wisconsin Solar Group Buy.
These twenty four installations total 147 kilowatts, which makes the SWSGB the third largest of five group buys in the state last year, according to RENEW Wisconsin. Initially offered in 2016 under the
name SOLARacine, the program generated 18 residential installations totaling 80 kW the first year. The program’s 2017 outcomes represent a 33% increase in installations and an 83% increase in our aggregate generation capacity, measured in kilowatts. “On top of the signed contracts, over the two years of the program we have had an additional 164 households that had the free site assessment but for various reasons could not move forward by the program deadline,” said Tom Rutkowski, one of the organizers of the SWSGB. “The increased participation in 2017 shows a growing level of interest for clean, renewable energy in Southeastern
Bill Stone, owner of Brightonwoods Orchard in Burlington and the 2017 SWSGB participant with the largest array at 20kW, has been interested in installing solar since he built his home at the orchard in
1983. “It was appealing to look into alternative renewable energy sources at that time, however, wind and solar were very expensive with long payback periods. About 15 years later we again looked into
alternative energy but again opted out for financial reasons,” explained Stone. After learning about the SWSGB, he signed up for the program’s free site assessment and met with Angie Domagalski, Energy Consultant with SWSGB’s 2017 partner contractor, Arch Electric. After reviewing options for solar installation with Ms. Domagalski, Stone says “it became obvious that the best cost benefits would be achieved by utilizing one of our business meters as opposed to one of our residential meters. Combining federal tax credits, the SWSGB discount pricing, the Focus on Energy rebate, and business depreciation brought our payback time down to around five years. Thus, our desire to exploit an alternative renewable energy source will be accomplished after thinking about the concept for over 30 years.”
“No matter if the installation is for a business or a residence, participants in the group buy benefit from the streamlined process and the financial savings made possible through the group buy format,” noted Rutkowksi. “And the larger community benefits as well: over a ten-year period, the 227 total kilowatts
installed through the SWSGB eliminate an amount of pollution equivalent to burning 249,593 gallons of gas or planting 53,419 trees. These installations are part of a larger movement that is collectively
making a difference.”
Domagalski, the Energy Consultant with Arch Electric, agrees. “I’m pleased with the response to the program, and I’m confident the momentum for consumers to transition to renewable energy is growing, thanks in part to group buys around the state like the SWSGB. Participants told us their decision was easier primarily due to the partnership between SWSGB and Arch Electric. They feel more confident knowing their installer has been evaluated by an unbiased third party.”
Like Rutkowski, Domagalski points out that the financial savings were another motivating factor for SWSGB participants. “Solar is still an emerging market, so the cost to installers of acquiring new
customers is still high. Group buys help relieve this cost for installers who pass the savings on to consumers. It’s a win-win for everyone.”
The SWSGB is planning to offer another group buy in Racine and Kenosha counties in 2018. Interested solar contractors can respond to a request for proposal which will be available in early March. SWSGB intends to select its partner contractor by late March. The SWSGB will also continue its relationship with the Great Lakes Community Conservation Corps, having trainees assist with installations. Free information sessions for homeowners and business owners will be offered in May and June.
If you own a home or business in Racine or Kenosha Counties, join our email list to be notified when information session dates are set and to receive updated details about the 2018 program. Please use our Contact Form, here.