MadiSUN program to create more solar energy options for homes, businesses

An initiative in the City of Madison that aims to give more homeowners and organizations access to solar energy systems is getting a financial boost.
Published: Apr. 8, 2022 at 12:14 PM CDT|Updated: Apr. 8, 2022 at 9:20 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - An initiative in the City of Madison that aims to give more homeowners and organizations access to solar energy systems is getting a financial boost.

Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway joined representatives from various solar energy organizations at The Ace Apartments on Acewood Blvd. on Friday to announce another $50,000 in grant money for the MadiSUN Solar Energy program.

The goal of MadiSUN is to help educate more people about solar energy options and support them in paying for and installing them in homes, affordable housing units, businesses, and non-profits.

Mayor Rhodes-Conway also announced that the MadiSUN program will expand this year to develop the solar workforce locally. “We obviously need the people to do the installations and in today’s workforce environment it’s important for us to be supporting good green jobs and helping people get trained into them,” said Mayor Rhodes-Conway.

Movin’ Out, Inc. was awarded the MadiSUN Backyard Solar Grant in 2020. Through the grant, a 124-kilowatt solar array was installed at The Ace Apartments. Officials say it will offset more than 90% of the electric consumption in common areas.

Full Spectrum Solar designed and constructed the solar arrays for the apartment complex.

“To visualize how much power 124-kilowatt system would produce, you can imagine 1,240 100-watt incandescent lightbulbs. If it was sunny outside, that’s what the system could be producing. If you prefer energy efficient bulbs, it’s about 6,000 LED light bulbs,” explained Burke O’Neal, the President of Full Spectrum Solar.

Movin’ Out supports people with disabilities and their families in finding and maintaining housing in Wisconsin, such as The Ace Apartments.

“The people that we serve are some of the most vulnerable people in the community and people with low incomes are the least able to respond to price spikes in energy and utilities. As we start to face climate change realities and the climate disruptions that that will bring, it’s even more important for our organization from an environmental justice perspective to include this in our buildings,” said Kathryne Auerback, Executive Director of Movin’ Out, Inc.

MadiSUN offers a group-buy option for homeowners looking to save costs while going solar. The Dane County Office of Energy and Climate Change partners with MadiSUN to support this program. Through it, residents can choose a contractor that has already been vetted by the program.

“Solar is still a new thing to lots of folks in our communities, whereas if you need a landscaper, you can probably talk to your brother or two of your neighbors to find out who they use, you don’t always have access to those tips when it comes to solar. So really what MadiSUN does is it becomes this unbiased technical expert,” said Kathy Kuntz, the Director of the Dane County Office of Energy and Climate Change.

Partners in the MadiSUN project include the City of Madison, RENEW Wisconsin, Full Spectrum Solar, Dane County Office of Energy and Climate Change, and Arch Electric.

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