“The future has already arrived. It’s just not evenly distributed yet.”
The purpose of Southeast Wisconsin Solar Group Buy (SWSGB, originally known as SOLARacine), is to simplify the decision-making process and to reduce the cost of solar-electric installations for homeowners and small businesses in Racine and Kenosha Counties. Organized by the Energy Committee of Greening Greater Racine, and modeled on similar programs in Seattle, Portland, and Milwaukee, our mission is to facilitate the sustainable clean energy future here in Kenosha and Racine Counties.
Less than a decade ago the “installed price” for solar installations was about $10 a watt; in 2016 and 2017 our solar group buy participants paid about $3 or less per installed watt. A federal tax credit of 30% on the cost of the entire system, as well as a significant Focus On Energy rebate for home owners, can be applied to further reduce prices.
Solar Group Buy projects save money by enabling contractors to realize economies of scale. We help to organize the marketplace for the contractor, which enables them to avoid the expense of marketing and advertising. It also makes contractor logistics more efficient. The contractor passes these savings to those who participate in the Solar Group Buy project.
In 2017 the “breakeven” point for an investment in a solar electric system, relative to buying electricity at retail rates from the local incumbent electric utility, was seven to eight years. After the breakeven point, the cost for electricity approaches zero. Viewed in another way, if the investment in solar electricity is amortized over the projected quarter-century (or longer) lifetime of the system, the annual expenditure for electricity is drastically reduced relative to the cost of buying from the utility.
In addition to the economic benefits of employing solar power, climate scientists tell us that the transition to clean, renewable energy must happen soon. By installing a solar electric system on your home or business you can add momentum to this transition by doing something you can control, and at the same time improve air quality and public health.
As an added benefit, through a partnership with the Great Lakes Community Conservation Corps, your participation will also help young people in Racine to learn job skills with hands-on experience in the rapidly growing solar industry sector of our national economy.