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Solar Legacy Projects

Solar Legacy Projects are solar energy installations built on community institutions like schools, libraries, or churches. They have been designed and built by local stakeholders.  We call them “legacy” projects because solar generates pollution-free electricity for the community and future generations long after it’s installed –– often 30 years or more. 

You too can help support these projects through our Slice of Sun Solar Bonds program.  Any member can earn up to 6% interest on their bonds purchased through the co-op. Your contribution by purchasing solar bonds allows us to help finance these community projects. You can choose to keep your interest or donate it to a non-profit of your choosing, or event donate the entire bond to a non-profit. Or, you can include your bond in your estate planning. Lots of ways to go green, to earn green, and to help community organizations! 

So even if you live in the shade you can actively help grow solar energy in Wisconsin!  Learn more about the Slice of Sun Solar Bonds program


LSC Sells Switch-to-Solar (S2S) RECs to Bayfield County

(This is the first of a 4-month series on climate or carbon offsets and the S2S program)

By Kurt Reinhold, President of Legacy Solar Wisconsin Cooperative

 

This month, Bayfield County officially completed its goal of 100% Carbon Free Electricity operations by purchasing the final 50 Megawatt-hours* of solar offsets (solar RECs) from Legacy Solar Cooperative’s Switch-to-Solar REC inventory.  The solar electricity that was purchased by Bayfield County was generated in Monona, Wisconsin by rooftop solar in 2018 and 2019.

*The actual number of kWhs of solar purchased is 49,500 (equal to 49.5 MWh).

For many, this announcement may be just as impressive as it is confusing to understand.  At some point, everybody will have asked themselves, “what does Carbon Neutral even mean”?  Is it the same as “Net Zero” emissions or even the newer term “Climate Neutral”?  And, how did Bayfield County calculate their emissions as well as their achievement of neutrality?

Read more

Climate Action 3-Part Workshop

Climate Action 3-Part Workshop – Feb. 25, March 31, April 28

For interested residents and businesses in Cross Plains, Black Earth, Mazomanie, Mt. Horeb and neighboring townships. Space is limited.

A series of three related workshops focused on actions you can take at your home, at your business and in our community today to help reduce our impact on our environment.

Learn what others are doing today, locally and nationally. Get practical advice about energy efficiency, adding renewable energy sources, and available incentives.

Building on two climate change meetings held last year in Cross Plains, this 3-step workshop will unfold over three months on three evenings

  • Tuesday, Feb. 25: Actions Being Taken Now – Highlight what is happening today in Dane County and elsewhere to mitigate climate change. View documentary: “From Paris to Pittsburgh” Share reactions, suggestions. Took place at Wisconsin Heights Middle/High School (10173 Hwy 14, Mazomanie) from 6:30-9:00pm
  • Tuesday, March 31: Getting More Energy Efficient — Practical steps and incentives for any business, farm and/or home to reduce energy costs. Examples of what steps your neighbors have done. Learn about Focus on Energy financial incentives. Taking place as a webinar from 7:00-9:00pm. To simply register, visit https://bit.ly/3abn9Iw. For more information, visit https://www.facebook.com/events/2300442583586424/
  • Tuesday, April 28: Adding Renewables – Learn from your neighbors who have done it and from experts on adding renewable energy to your power supply. Learn about available financial and tax incentives, steps involved and more.

Cost? Only to come prepared to share what you have learned, take advantage of what makes sense at your home or business, and think about your own needs between the sessions.

Update from Nick

Going Beyond Rooftop Solar – Making the Decision 

By Nick Hein, 2/26/20

A year after Ken and Barb installed their solar array with the help of Legacy Solar Co-op, it’s been performing even better than expected -producing more than 100% of their electric needs. That’s gotten them thinking, since their utility doesn’t pay them as much for the excess, they’d like to use it to offset (or eliminate) their natural gas usage. They wonder if replacing their current furnace, water heater and appliances with the most efficient models available, their rooftop array could produce all the energy they need to use in a year. Then they could completely disconnect the natural gas service.* So it looks like they could become 100% net-zero, and now the question is whether they should. Let’s join Ken and Barb one evening as they discuss it.

“Barb, I’ve been reading about something called ‘Deep Energy Retrofits’ where homeowners upgrade their insulation and mechanical systems so their solar array can provide all the power they need. It looks like something we could do.” “OK, I can see how that would be a good idea for the planet since we’d be completely free of fossil fuels, but does it make sense for us financially?” asks Barb. Ken replies: “I’m not sure yet, and it probably depends on how much we spend on the upgrade, but I read an article from one person who did it and found that it paid a better return than his 401k. He also liked the fact that the return was more predictable and the investment was going into his home.” (1) Read more

Renew Wisconsin

Congratulations to LSC Members Honored at the 2020 Renewable Energy Summit

Jackie Harrison-Jewell, 2/26/20

Congratulations to LSC Members Honored at the 2020 Renewable Energy Summit Renewable Energy Summit, presented by RENEW Wisconsin, is a one-day event that brings together people who work in, or are interested in the growth and success of renewable energy in Wisconsin, from policy makers to vendors, educators and concerned citizens. This year’s event was held on Thursday, January 16th and Legacy Solar Co-op was proud to be there.

We would like to congratulate several of our members who were recognized during the summit. Read more

CR Boardman at First United Methodist Church Sale

Unique Membership Drive Helps LSC Meet 2019 Membership Goals

By Jackie Harrison-Jewell, 2/26/20

People join Legacy Solar Co-op for different reasons, and we’re happy to welcome everyone, from those who just want to be a member to those who join so they can buy bonds, support a particular project or actively participate in some other way. We really love it when our members are so excited about our mission here at Legacy that they come up with their own ideas about how to help.

For example, when John Stolzenberg joined LSC, right away he had an idea he wanted to try. John attends the First United Methodist Church in Madison, and every year they have an alternative gift fair each December weekend before Christmas. Read more

Wintery Trees

Happy Holidays from Legacy Solar Co-op

Legacy Solar Co-op Team, 12/20/19

However you celebrate, we wish you well during this holiday season and year-end and we look forward to engaging with you next year!

And we also want to thank you. Whether you’ve recently become a member, purchased bonds or solar renewable energy credits (RECs) or are simply following our progress online, we thank you for your involvement! With our collective efforts, solar energy generates a green future for Wisconsin and pays back those who helped fund projects in the first place. If you’re interested in helping support the next round of projects, visit our projects update page, or contact us.

Project Update

Project Updates

Legacy Solar Co-op Team, 12/20/19

Legacy Solar Co-op’s solar bond program provides financing to help pay for up-front costs. The following projects are well on their way, but some still need your support to be completed.

A few ways to get involved:

  • Purchase solar bonds: Available in increments of $250, help support this project by purchasing bonds and earn between 4-6% interest yearly. Only LSC members are eligible to buy bonds. Join today!
  • Become a tax sponsor: Provide the major sponsorship needed to make these projects happen. If you are interested or have questions, please reach out to us by contacting info@legacysolarcoop.org.

Some of our current projects:

  • Lakeview Lutheran Church (Madison) — A congregation serving Madison for over 150 years. We provided a solar assessment for this roughly 20-30 kW project.
  • Solon Springs School District (Solon Springs)— Located in Douglas County (northwest Wisconsin), this school district will soon benefit from a solar array with up to 100 kW capacity. Early winter delayed project completion into 2020, but we eagerly anticipation spring solar power for Solon Springs. Read more
Update from Nick

If I’m Getting Free Electricity from the Sun, Why isn’t my bill lower? It may be your demand peaks.

Nick Hein, 12/20/19

If you’re a commercial electric customer and you’ve just installed solar PV on your roof, you’re probably expecting to see a lower monthly electric bill.  If you don’t, it’s probably due to peak demand charges and there’s something you can do about it.  Electricity doesn’t always cost the same.  Depending what tariff schedule (rate plan) you’re on, the electric bill may have any or all of these components: 

When you install solar, you’re saving yourself money in the usage charge.  That means the utility is making less money, so they try to make up for it by increasing the connection charge and the demand charges.  Before solar, these charges didn’t even exist.  To some extent they are justified.   Connection charges cover the cost  to maintain wires and transformers that carry the electricity, and this rate is negotiated with the state Public Service Commission and can’t be changed.  Peak demand rates are also fixed, but you can reduce your peak usage.  When there are peaks the provider has to pay more for electricity on short notice.  It makes good sense to level out your usage so you don’t get peaks because it reduces the wear on your electrical equipment.  It can also save you money on your monthly bill.  Here’s how. Read more

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2019 Annual Meeting

Annual Meeting 2019

The purpose of the co-op annual meeting is 3-fold:

  1. Meeting is required by Chapter 185 governing Wisconsin Cooperatives (quorum is at least 10% of membership);
  2. Find out what’s been up with your Co-op in 2019 and what is in store for 2020 (and join the discussion!);
  3. Vote for Board Members and any other motions or resolutions from the business meeting.

The meeting took place at Madison Brassworks in the Bea Christensen Room (214 Waubesa Street, Madison) starting at 6:00 PM, food at 6:30 and business meeting at 7:00.

Thank you to everyone who attended! It was great to see so many friendly faces and to get a chance to talk with other members.

First Unitarian Society of Madison

First Unitarian Society (FUS) of Madison

LOCATION: Madison, Wisconsin   |   CAPACITY: 83 kW   |   COMPLETION DATE: October 2019
SOLAR CONTRACTOR:
Full Spectrum Solar logo

 

FUS of Madison is a community of spiritual and ethical seekers that inhabits a building designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. FUS is one of the largest Unitarian Universalist congregations in the United States, totaling over 1,400 members.

Over the years, FUS staff and board, the Sustainability Ministry Team, with the support of the FUS community, have developed a sustainable, carbon neutral vision, which now includes a 83kW solar panel system that was added to its campus in October of 2019. The new array was placed on the flat-roofed portions of FUS and outside the green roof on the Atrium addition and has the capacity to generate about 90,000 kW-hours of electricity annually – more than a quarter of the electricity it consumes, or about nine average-sized U.S. homes worth of energy. The system, designed by Full Spectrum Solar, maximizes the energy the building can generate with the roof space available. Read more