New program hopes to help 100 Wisconsin schools go solar

389kW PV system that went online in November 2019 in the Merton Community School District....
389kW PV system that went online in November 2019 in the Merton Community School District. (Source:Merton Community School District)(NBC15)
Published: Jan. 20, 2020 at 4:06 PM CST
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While students power their minds inside school, a new initiative is looking to the sun to power classrooms.

Midwest Renewable Energy Association announced their

Solar on Schools

program on Monday. The initiative aims to help 100 Wisconsin schools go solar.

The program had a soft launch involving six schools, including Madison Metropolitan School District, Merton Community School District, and the Eau Claire Area School District.

To help ease the financial and informational burden involved with going solar, the program includes a grant up to $20,000, an online resource center, and technical assistance.

To apply for the grant,


For the Merton Community School District, a 389 kW PV system was installed and went online in November. According to Ronald Russ, the district’s superintendent, they are anticipated to save more than $70,000 in energy costs.

“After we looked at grants, the opportunity to create our own power, and the very quick return on investment, [solar] was something we could not ignore,” said Russ.

“The MREA is very excited to launch the Solar on Schools initiative,” said Amanda Schienebeck, Solar Program Coordinator for

Solar on Schools.

“Solar offers a unique way for schools to reduce their operating expenses without cutting any education programs or services.”

Applications for the program will be accepted on a rolling basis.