Getting Started with Solar
This webpage represents a collection of solar resources for the community. In October 2018, the City had roughly 384 kW of existing photovoltaics (PV) solar on city buildings, and there were more than 30 installations on residential and commercial properties. The City's goals can be found in its Solar Statement. For more information about the basics of solar energy, your solar options, and questions to ask solar professionals, read the Residential Consumer Guide to Solar Power.
Solar energy uses a renewable energy source – the sun – and provides many benefits for individuals and the community. It improves environmental quality by reducing carbon emissions and air pollution, supports nearly 3,000 jobs and over 130 companies in Wisconsin (SEIA), saves money on energy costs as the price continues to drop from increasing demand and technological developments, and adds electric grid resilience during peak demand and other stresses to the system.
Please see the solar permitting checklist. Small solar PV projects (10kW or less) have a turnaround time of 3-5 business days. Application forms and current fees can be found on the Building Inspection webpage.
Find a Contractor
Find a solar contractor (or two) to assess your home for solar energy and provide a bid. Certified practitioners can be found through NABCEP. The Solar Energy Industries Association's site also provides a map of area contractors. The following is a non-exhaustive list of contractors who have done business in the community.
Financing, Incentives & Tax Exemptions
Typically solar installations are paid for through loans or cash, with Federal and State incentives available. See the brochure and Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) for additional information on a unique payment program.
Solar Rights & Procedure
Read the State Statute about your solar rights. The onus is on you, the property owner/applicant. An approved permit represents notice.
Job Training and Educational Opportunities
Madison College offers a Renewable Energy Certificate program for students interested in the design, engineering, economic analysis, installation, maintenance and repair of various types of renewable energy systems.
Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA) offers industry-leading professional training for solar PV, solar thermal, and small wind systems. Both online and in-person courses are available year-round. Solar Training Academy is a series of weekend classes providing students with industry-leading solar technical training. Topics include photovoltaic (PV) fundamentals, PV site assessment practices, and design principles and considerations.
The Energy Fair, organized by MREA, is the longest-running event of its kind and brings over 10,000 attendees together to learn about clean energy and sustainability.
More Useful Solar Information
- Consumer Solar Checklist - A checklist for residential consumers considering solar energy from IREC, the Interstate Renewable Energy Council
- Department of Energy Solar Program Information - Links and information on solar energy technologies
- Midwest Renewable Energy Association - Events, classes, energy fair and installer training information
- RENEW Wisconsin - News, maps and other important information
- Grow Solar Wisconsin - Solar information clearinghouse
- National Renewable Lab Open PV - Pricing data and maps
- Focus on Energy - State and local incentives and providers
- MG&E - Local projects, curriculum and links
- DSIRE - State, local, utility and federal incentives and policy database