First building

Housing Initiatives of Madison

Housing Initiatives is a Madison nonprofit organization that has been providing peace, hope, and shelter for Madison area men, women, and veterans for over 20 years.

The Challenge

Housing Initiatives own several buildings throughout Madison to give their clients a safe, warm place to call home. Residents use a lot of electricity because they are home often and at a variety of times. Energy for heating and lighting is a significant recurring expense.

In the summer of 2016, a supporter of Housing Initiatives (and of solar power) approached Legacy Solar Co-op to see if we could facilitate a solar project on some of their units.  

Solar Solution

Legacy Solar Co-op assessed the situation and were pleased to find buildings with a good solid roof with enough electrical load to support a solar array. We also looked at the electrical bills and saw an opportunity to save 40% per unit through solar. It was clear that this could make a big impact on their operational expenses!

Area solar contractor, Full Spectrum Solar, was chosen to provide the installation, and Legacy Solar Co-op helped provide technical assistance and financing options for Housing Initiatives to construct solar on 2 buildings that Housing Initiatives owns and maintains.


Our tax sponsor for this project is a long-time advocate for this and other organizations in Dane County.

Their participation lowers the cost of installing solar for Housing Initiatives by 40-50%. Legacy Solar Co-op also sold $37,000 worth of Slice-of-Sun (SOS) Solar Bonds to help raise more money for this program. SOS Bonds are available to members of the Co-op who are residents of the state of Wisconsin and pay between 3% and 5% internal rate of return on your support for our Co-op’s projects.

Together, we are helping Housing Initiatives achieve lower energy bills which they can direct to their primary mission of helping more people in need.


The project was finished in December of 2016.


Click on an image to open the gallery.


The Legacy

The more SOS Bonds are owned by Housing Initiatives, the more their energy bills will be locked in at below 5 cents per kilowatt-hour! That’s less than half what they are paying now for their electricity in 2017.

Plus, over 25 years, the impact of this project will be to displace nearly 1 million pounds of CO2 and save over 14 million gallons of water by reducing their need for coal and methane-based electricity!

Slice-of-Sun Solar Bonds

Legacy Solar Co-op is selling Slice-of-Sun Solar Bonds to any member who would like to support a Solar Legacy project and earn between 3% and 5% interest on their bonds purchased through the co-op.

These bonds help secure the solar project and can either be cashed in after 7 years, rolled-over into a Legacy term (25-years), or can be donated at any time as a tax-deductible donation to a participating non-profit host site for a solar project. For example, a local church is currently enjoying a portion of the energy savings (over $3,000 a year), but the more bonds the Church owns, the more energy savings they get to keep for their own parish’s budget. Everybody saves and earns and benefits from the good that is being done thanks to the solar project.

You can buy Slice-of-Sun Solar Bonds that earn interest for as little as $250. Or you can sponsor as many full solar panels as you’d like for $500 each. Sponsorship can be direct donations to a participating non-profit or through the purchase of bonds that are then gifted to the non-profit of your choosing.

The two rules for purchasing a solar bond

You must be:

  1. A member of the Legacy Solar Cooperative, and
  2. A Wisconsin resident.

These are required to comply with State and Federal Statutes governing this type of business transaction.  Becoming an equity member of the Legacy Solar Co-op means you are an owner of the Co-op, and qualify to buy bonds issued by the Co-op to serve the Co-op’s business interests. These interests lie in developing more and more solar projects to serve our members and share in the energy and environmental savings that come with solar and energy efficiency.

Ready to get started?

You will find more information and instructions.  If you have any questions at all, please contact us.