Milwaukee solar group buy program marks best year

Milwaukee’s Environmental Collaboration Office and the Midwest Renewable Energy Association saw the most successful year of the greater Milwaukee solar group purchase program in 2021.

A total of 64 home and business owners installed 431 kilowatts of solar on their buildings this year. The total capacity installed this year accounts for nearly one-third of the 1,292 KW of solar power installed since the group buy program started in 2013.

The program aims to help greater Milwaukee residents invest in lower-cost solar through volume purchasing.

Arch Electric, the program’s solar installer, prepared a total of 186 free bids for interested participants over the summer. Milwaukee’s Environmental Collaboration Office and other program partners also conducted outreach at farmers markets and offered 17 free, virtual information sessions.

Two businesses, Walnut Way Conservation Corporation and the Cactus Club, also took part in the 2021 group buy program.

“As a proud Milwaukee native, I truly feel that after this summer solar has arrived in our city,” said Angie Kochanski, residential sales manager for Arch Electric. “Getting to work with our neighbors, I saw a lot of people who had been on the fence make the decision to finally go solar. It’s exciting to see our city arrive on the map as a leader in renewable energy and I look forward to watching this trend continue.”

Other partners in the group buy program include Bay View Neighborhood Association, Sherman Park Neighborhood Association, Walker’s Point Neighborhood Association, St. Francis of Assisi Parish, Murray Hill Neighborhood Association, Walnut Way Conservation Corporation, as well as the City of Glendale and the Villages of Bayside, Fox Point, Shorewood and Whitefish Bay.

Greater Milwaukee residents are not alone in shifting to solar power. WEC Energy Group, the parent company of We Energies, has announced a series of major investments in solar and battery storage projects around the state. BizTimes detailed the company’s shift toward solar power in a recent cover story. WEC also recently announced plans to transition away from coal power completely by 2035. 

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Arthur covers banking and finance and the economy at BizTimes while also leading special projects as an associate editor. He also spent five years covering manufacturing at BizTimes. He previously was managing editor at The Waukesha Freeman. He is a graduate of Carroll University and did graduate coursework at Marquette. A native of southeastern Wisconsin, he is also a nationally certified gymnastics judge and enjoys golf on the weekends.

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