Grow Solar Central Wisconsin hits first group discount goal

Metro Wire Staff

Ben and Lindsay Benaszeski were one of the 54 property owners that went solar through Grow Solar Central Wisconsin 3.0, a group purchasing program that emphasizes solar education and volume purchasing to make solar more affordable for central Wisconsin businesses and homeowners.

The program, offering an already below market rate, is structured so that the price-per-watt will continuously decrease as participants collectively reach benchmarks of 50kW, 100 kW, and 150kW of solar contracted with the program’s installer, NorthWind Solar.

The program met its 50kW goal this last week.

“Northwind staff made the whole process go very smoothly with excellent communication,” the Benaszeskis said in an email statement. “Everyone on the project was very professional and answered all our questions. The system looks and works great. In our first two months, we are saving $100-150 on our electric bills each month.”

The cities of Stevens Point and Wausau, Mid-State Technical College, and the Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA) all support the bulk solar group purchase program for residents and businesses located within Lincoln, Marathon, Portage, and Wood counties. The program provides residents and businesses with the opportunity to invest in high-quality solar installations with potential savings on installation costs, while also helping communities and businesses reach their sustainability goals.

Grow Solar Central Wisconsin started Solar Power Hour informational sessions in early July. During these free, hour-long virtual presentations, Grow Solar Central Wisconsin representatives give a brief explanation of the program, discuss the projected costs of installing solar, and highlight the benefits of going solar.

A complete schedule of the Solar Power Hours can be found at www.cwsolar.org.

The Grow Solar Central Wisconsin program allows residents and business owners in Lincoln, Marathon, Portage, and Wood counties to take advantage of federal and state incentives for installing solar, in addition to benefiting from the discounts offered through the group buy. But the available state incentives come with a caveat: funds are running low. With only about 4 percent of the state’s Focus on Energy program’s original Residential Renewable Incentive Budget remaining, there’s an urgency to move forward with a solar contract soon.

Industry experts predict that funds will dry up in late August to early September, but program participants can have their rebate reserved for them upon contract signing, until the money’s gone, according to a news release from MREA.

Grow Solar Central Wisconsin is administered by the Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA) at no cost to the counties. This type of program has been successful in other parts of Wisconsin, as well as Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, and Missouri, the news release said.

For more information go to www.midwestrenew.org.