Affordable Community Solar Options Available Through Wisconsin Co-ops

Vernon Electric Cooperative recently celebrated the grand opening of the Bluff Prairie solar project in Wisconsin. The cooperative aimed to make solar energy more accessible to a broader range of members, including those with limited means.

Craig Buros, the CEO and general manager of Vernon EC, highlighted the challenges faced by many potential participants in solar projects due to premium pricing. In response to this issue, the co-op collaborated with multiple partners to develop an innovative solution that would offer affordable solar energy to its members.

The Bluff Prairie Community Solar project, with its 3,200-panel, 1.5-megawatt array located near Red Mound, represents the co-op’s commitment to providing solar energy to all members. About 20% of the panels are dedicated to eligible low- and moderate-income households through the Energize Wisconsin program.

Income-eligible participants under the Energize Wisconsin program receive four free panel subscriptions, resulting in an estimated annual savings of 4 for each participant. Additionally, Couleecap Inc., a local community action agency, plays a key role in helping low-income members access free subscriptions through a state grant.

Moreover, Vernon EC’s collaboration with OneEnergy Renewables and other co-ops in the state has facilitated the development of multiple solar arrays that will collectively add 22 MW of new solar generation in Wisconsin. These initiatives aim to provide affordable renewable energy options to members who may face challenges in accessing such resources.

Through cooperation among cooperatives and strategic partnerships, Vernon Electric Cooperative strives to maximize the benefits of solar energy for its members while promoting sustainable practices in the community.

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