Solar groups appeal to block We Energies fees

The Alliance for Solar Choice and RENEW Wisconsin took the next steps in appealing the Wisconsin Public Service Commission’s December decision to allow a fee on homes and businesses that invest in solar energy in We Energies’ service territory.

The groups filed the first set of briefs in Dane County Circuit Court in May, outlining their arguments in the case. TASC and RENEW Wisconsin claimed in the briefs that the record does not contain the necessary evidence to support the PSC’s approval of the additional charges on customer energy generation, such as solar energy.

“The court must reverse when the commission’s action depends on any finding of fact that is not supported by substantial evidence in the record,” said Amy Heart, spokeswoman for TASC.

Tyler Huebner, RENEW Wisconsin’s executive director, told BizTimes that the fees proposed by We Energies would add 30 to 40 percent to the costs for customers investing in solar energy, thereby creating a disincentive for businesses and homeowners to invest in renewable energy that would benefit the environment.

Because solar energy cannot yet be feasibly stored for use at night or on cloudy days, Milwaukee-based We Energies claims other customers must still pay for making electricity available on the grid to solar users, even when it is not being used.

“We firmly believe the commission decision in this case is correct and supported by sound principles. The fact remains that out-of-state solar developers – with their court appeal – are demanding subsidies that would raise electric bills for our 1.1 million customers who do not have solar panels. This is a fundamental matter of fairness,” said We Energies spokesman Brian Manthey.

The We Energies rate case last fall sparked public opposition and national attention for the three-member commission, with more than 500 Wisconsin residents in attendance at a public hearing in October.

Sign up for BizTimes Daily Alerts

Stay up-to-date on the people, companies and issues that impact business in Milwaukee and Southeast Wisconsin

No posts to display