Milwaukee’s citywide approach to developing a sustainable solar market is being heralded this week as an international blueprint for success.
Through the Wisconsin Solar Initiative, businesses, government, organizations and trade associations are working together to shine the light on Milwaukee’s achievements in the solar industry to other cities and corporations.
The Wisconsin Solar Initiative is exhibiting this week at Solar Power International (SPI), in Orlando, Fla. To highlight Wisconsin-made solar products, economic development opportunities, and research and training, the group is hosting a Wisconsin Solar Tailgate today. The event will feature beer from solar-powered Wisconsin breweries and cheese.
According to Amy Heart, Milwaukee Shines program manager, “Milwaukee and southeast Wisconsin has quickly stepped to the forefront of the solar industry. Our quality, U.S.-made, solar electric, solar heating and cooling, and energy storage products are the result of a multi-dimensional effort. As a Solar America City, Milwaukee is leading the way through strong partnerships, innovative financing solutions and quality products in the solar supply chain. Thanks to a collective effort of businesses, innovators and government leadership, Milwaukee, and Wisconsin, is the Midwest leader in solar solutions.”
In 2009, a study conducted by CH2M Hill found that Milwaukee had the potential to become a Solar Hot Water (SHW) manufacturing cluster because of its: proximity to an emerging regional SHW market; access to booming national and global markets; existing manufacturing expertise; availability of state incentives for renewable energy components manufacturing; and affordable land for business expansion or relocation. The Milwaukee Metro Solar Hot Water Business Council was created as a result of that study to share what southeastern Wisconsin has to offer the industry.
Since the study, Helios Solar Works, Ingeteam and Caleffi Solar have all created manufacturing sites along the revitalized Menomonee Valley business corridor.
The Wisconsin Solar Initiative is a project of the Midwest Renewable Energy Association and the Milwaukee Metro Solar Hot Water Business Council. Current partners include: City of Milwaukee; Caleffi Solar, Helios Solar Works, Ingeteam, Eaton Corp., the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee; the Milwaukee School of Engineering; Focus on Energy; Johnson Controls Inc.; A.O. Smith Corp.; Hot Water Products; American Renewable Power; Rundle-Spence; Res Manufacturing; and others.
Adding to the components necessary for success, Milwaukee Shines, the city of Milwaukee’s solar program, works to build and support an expanding solar energy market. Milwaukee Shines provides solar education and outreach, financing solutions to reduce the cost of solar, and is making the solar installation process easier for customers, contractors and officials.
In 2008, Milwaukee was named one of 25 Solar America Cities by the U.S Department of Energy. For details, visit www.wisolar.org.