Forty-nine homes in Wisconsin will see their energy bills go down this winter, thanks to sustainable solar installations on their homes.
Habitat for Humanity chapters throughout Wisconsin and the Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA) have partnered on the Grow Solar for Humanity initiative, created to bring solar to households that will significantly benefit from reduced utility bills. The program, coordinated by the MREA, implements affordable renewable energy on homes built by Habitat for Humanity within the last year. Thirty-five of the 49 Wisconsin Habitat for Humanity homes receiving solar are in Milwaukee, spanning the Harambee and Midtown neighborhoods.
“By reducing energy costs, this project will bring long-term savings for these families, while increasing the value of their homes,” said Chris Garrison, construction director of Milwaukee Habitat for Humanity.
Focus on Energy, a statewide energy efficiency program, funds the solar portion of these homes. For more than 20 years, Focus on Energy and Wisconsin’s electric and natural gas utilities have partnered to help residential and business customers across the state make cost-effective energy efficiency and renewable energy upgrades.
“Habitat for Humanity is committed to helping Wisconsinites live in comfortable and affordable homes,” said Scott Bloedorn, program manager at Focus on Energy. “Building energy-efficient homes is the most cost-effective way to control energy bills. By adding solar, Habitat for Humanity helps reduce energy costs even further.”
Solar installations began in November and will be completed early next year. The project was awarded to Arch Solar, a local Wisconsin solar company, through a competitive bid process. Arch has previously worked with Milwaukee and Madison’s governments on yearly group purchases to encourage people to install solar in their neighborhoods.
“For Arch, these installations are exciting because they bring the financial and environmental value of solar power to communities who have not had much, if any, access to solar power in the past. The electricity from solar panels provides financial stability by both avoiding rising utility costs and significantly reducing energy bills, all by powering their home with a clean, sustainable energy source,” says Dexter Peirce, an energy consultant at Arch Solar.
The Grow Solar for Humanity program is offered on behalf of the following Habitat for Humanity affiliates: Chippewa Valley, Door County, Fox Cities, Lakeside, Dane County, Kenosha, Washington and Dodge Counties, Wisconsin River, Milwaukee and St. Croix Valley. When all the Habitat for Humanity solar projects are finished, roughly 414 kW of solar will be installed, collectively reducing energy bills for these families by at least $50,323 in just the first year of commissioning.