Logo for LSC

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


Man climbing stairs with sunrise background

The Sustainability StairClimb: Strategy

1. Introduction:  Why have a strategy?

Earlier articles in this series have discussed sustainability in terms of the simple, low-risk, short-payback tactics with obvious benefits.  However, when it comes to the bigger and more expensive opportunities you need a strategy that will guide you to the most effective ones first and help you plan how to pay for them.  Currently the most common strategy is the payback calculation. This is a strictly monetary metric that says if you get your money back in a reasonable amount of time, and continue to save after that, then the project is worth it.  The problem with this approach is that it may miss synergies that can come about by combining projects, and can’t adapt to changing conditions.  In this article we’ll also talk about Fossil Energy (FE) reduction, and a 100% Renewable Energy (RE%) target strategy.  The new metrics have the benefit that they are absolute, meaning that they don’t depend on a baseline that might change over time.  As such they mark progress toward an absolute goal instead of a relative one. Here we’ll also track the traditional metrics like energy cost and payback time.

Read more

Spring tulips by trees with sunlight

Spring is a Time for Action

By the Legacy Solar Co-op Team, 4/25/19

Spring is a time for action. To get out there and do something. More sunshine means we can tackle that list of projects we’ve avoided all winter, right?

Sorta.

Unfortunately the list of things we could do is far longer than the list of things we can do.  And just like you, Legacy Solar Co-op has a project list that’s longer than our current resources allows us to tackle. It’s not that we don’t want to execute. Helping solar projects come to life is a beautiful thing we never tire of seeing. Our list is long because it’s filled with worthy projects that aren’t getting the love they deserve.

We have to act quickly to change that. Tax incentives and previously awarded grants have to be used before they sunset.

The Co-op is owned by some of the most committed and generous people we’ve ever met, and you all have helped us do some amazing things in the past.  So what about 2019 and 2020?

That’s up to you!

Green initiatives and concern for the climate are in the news a lot these days. It’s easy to feel like the problem is so big, there’s nothing we can really do. But there is…today. Right now we have several projects that need LSC’s financing to make their solar projects happen.

For example, if we had $200,000 in bonds, we could make at least 4 more deserving community projects happen this year. And if we had 5 more people willing to invest as project tax sponsors, we could help two school districts, two faith organizations and one nonprofit helping disconnected youth – go green and save money beginning this year!

Memorial United Church of Christ (UCC) Fitchburg

Solar Project at Memorial United Church of Christ (UCC), Fitchburg 

What can you do?

  • Become a member of Legacy Solar Co-op and start talking about making solar a bigger part of our energy mix in Wisconsin. Need help? Talk to us about working with your organization or group.
  • Buy solar bonds. Do good and make a modest return. The money you invest goes to putting solar on roofs and sites in Wisconsin.
  • Talk to friends or family about becoming a member and investing in solar bonds. The more you invest, the higher your return.
  • Consider becoming a Tax Sponsor and partner with a worthy organization eager to make a difference but needing help to make it happen. Take advantage of tax credits and depreciation write-offs. Email us today if you’re interested in this option.

It’s Spring. Time to celebrate the return of the sun, warmth and the beautiful eco-system that makes Wisconsin so special. Please consider taking a few moments to help us make more of our to-do list happen. Your involvement today means that we are helping to ensure many more beautiful Spring days in the future.

Plus, we promise it will take less time than cleaning out the gutters!

WES Engineering installed Literacy Network's Racking System

Literacy Network of Dane County

LOCATION: Madison, Wisconsin
CAPACITY: 19 kW
PROJECT COMPLETED: December 2018
SOLAR CONTRACTOR:
Logo_WES Engineering

 

 

 

Founded in 1974, the Literacy Network teaches reading, writing, communication and computer skills to approximately 1,000 low-income Dane County adults each year (90% are people of color; 67% are women). A staff of 28 and nearly 900 annual volunteers help participants achieve financial security, well-being and deeper engagement with their families and the community.

In fall 2016, after renting for more than 40 years, Literacy Network purchased and renovated the building at 701 Dane Street, with nearly four times more space than their previous location. Thanks in part to a Solar for Good grant and a loan from Legacy Solar Co-op, solar power was also in their future. The new solar array consists of multiple sub-arrays, allowing Literacy Network to generate electricity to power the facility for afternoons and early evenings when they have classes. Once the system is paid off, the array is expected reduce imported MGE electricity by about 25% and save over $3,000 per year. This equates to a full semester of one-on-one tutoring for a class! Read more

Todd Lund Wires Up Oregon Ice Arena Rooftop

Oregon Ice Arena

LOCATION: Oregon, Wisconsin
CAPACITY: 190 kW
COMPLETED: December 2018
SOLAR CONTRACTOR:
Full Spectrum Solar logo

The Oregon Ice Arena is a non-profit 501(c)(3) facility in Oregon, WI. with the mission of providing the best ice skating experience possible by maintaining a clean and safe environment for all ages. Ice arenas have to operate heat pumps every day of the year in order to keep the air temperature near the ice as close to freezing as possible. The hottest days of the year take the most compressor activity so not only will this array use the sun’s energy to lower the arena’s electric use, the fact that the solar array takes up over 12,500 square-feet of south-facing roof means that it also shades the roof from the sun. Less direct sun exposure means that the interior experiences less thermal gain on hot days, saving dramatically on cooling costs during peak demand. In fact, the project will generate about 25% of the ice arena’s electricity use from 560 flush mounted solar panels.

See the 1/30/19 Oregon Observer article on this project.

 

Gallery

Your Bond Purchase Makes Solar in Wisconsin More Attainable

Jackie Harrison-Jewell, 2/25/19

When was the last time investing made you feel really good? Sure, investing in bonds is a smart thing to do with your money. It’s generally secure and often pays better, more consistent interest than other investments. But do you really know where your money is going? What it’s doing? Do you feel like you’re making a difference?

Investing in Legacy Solar Co-op’s Slice of Sun bond program is different. With LSC’s bonds you know exactly what your money is doing. All funds raised by the sale of Slice of Sun bonds finance Wisconsin-based solar, installed by local vendors and contractors, with local, primarily nonprofit clients, including city and county government institutions, service organizations and faith-based communities.

Contact us if you want to buy a slice of sun for your community.

This year investing in our co-op will help groups like these:

  • A very popular youth skills training non-profit is looking to secure financing for their 100 kilowatt (!!) project for their new location here in Madison.
  • Three Madison-area churches are vying for support for their solar projects this spring.  We’ll give more details once we have tax sponsors lined up.
  • Three agricultural businesses through the Wisconsin Farmers Union are looking for support for their projects — you could earn 4-6% and help these businesses grow solar for their operations!
  • Two school districts up in northern Wisconsin are looking for material support through the Legacy Solar Co-op.  We need to sell a lot of bonds to help them!
  • One housing development complex in northern Wisconsin is looking for a tax financing solution and considering LSC’s model for part of their development costs.
  • More than one other Wisconsin VFW has voiced interest in building on our success with the Truax-Longmire Post #8483 solar project by adopting projects of their own!

Read more

Net metering screenshot

Net Metering in Wisconsin

Nick Hein, 2/25/19

If you’re putting solar PV on your home you may have heard the term “net metering” and wondered what it means. Even if you think you know what it means, there are some details about it that vary greatly depending on your utility. These may affect the size of the array you decide to install, and how you operate it. In this article I’ll explain what net metering is, why we have it and what you should know to make the best decision about your installation and how you use it.

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The Stairclimb Strategy

Nick Hein, 1/28/19

Previous articles discussed the sustainability stair climb in general terms.  In this article we’ll outline a specific strategy to make real progress toward long-term sustainability goals.  Here’s why it’s important.  Your financial investments right now may be making 2-8% in conventional places like banks and money markets.  Alternatively, sustainability can give you a return from 10-80%, and your investment stays in your home where you can see and feel it.  In this article you’ll learn how to calculate that return and how to make it snowball so you can re-invest it. 

Rebates or other programs give you short-term rewards for changing behavior, but if you’re going to climb the whole stairway you need a way to see longer-term progress and set bigger goals.  A $100 rebate doesn’t help you as much as saving $100 every year, and using fewer fossil fuels this month doesn’t motivate you as much as eliminating them completely.  

In this article we describe how to track money saved during your sustainability efforts, in addition to the intangible benefits such as time-savings, convenience, comfort, safety, and quality of life. This will involve using spreadsheets, which we’ll show in sections.  There will be a link to the complete file, which should work with most spreadsheet programs.  Read more

Project Update

Project Update 1/28/19

Legacy Solar Co-op’s solar bond program provides part of the financing to pay for up-front costs in the first year of the project’s development. The following projects are well on their way, but still need your support to be completed. Here are a few ways you can get involved:

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

Here are some project developments in January, 2019:

  • Blackhawk Church (Fitchburg) — Blackhawk is one church that meets in multiple locations. They are in the process of adding a location in Fitchburg. We are currently completing the RFP process for vendor selection, then will start to fundraise. This project will consist of a rooftop array (up to 100 kW) and possible charging stations
  • Operation Fresh Start (Madison)— Operation Fresh Start “provides a path forward for disconnected youth in Dane County, ages 16-24, through education, mentoring, and employment training.” We are looking for a tax sponsor and then will start fundraising in February. This project will have the capacity of up to 100 kW.
  • First Unitarian Society (Shorewood Hills)— A Unitarian Universalist congregation in occupying a building designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. We are looking for a tax sponsor and then will start fundraising in February.
  • Abinooji Aki (Hayward) — An organization created to assist in the Lac Courte Oreilles (LCO) tribe in their efforts to combat alcohol and drug abuse. We provided preliminary estimates; this is likely a Q3 project.
  • AmericInn Hayward (Hayward)— provided preliminary estimates; this is likely a Q3 project.
  • Redeemer City Church (Fitchburg)— A church located in southwest Madison / Fitchburg that has been around since 2014. We provided preliminary estimates and are looking for a tax sponsor. This is likely a Q3 project.
  • Lakeview Lutheran Church (Madison) — A congregation that has been serving Madison for over 150 years. We provided a solar assessment for this project, which will have a capacity of roughly 20-30 kW.
  • Solon Springs School District (Solon Springs)— Located in Douglas County (northwest Wisconsin), this school district will soon benefit from a solar array with the capacity of up to 100 kW. We are beginning the RFP process for vendor selection, working on roof improvements, and will do further fundraising in March.

Stay tuned for updates! Check out other LSC projects 

Renew Wisconsin Summit 2019

Legacy Solar Co-op Honored as Renewable Energy Champion

Peter Fiala, 1/17/19

At Renew Wisconsin’s Renewable Energy Summit on January 17, 2019, Legacy Solar Co-op was recognized, along with Dane County Executive Joe Parisi and Chequamegon Bay. See Kurt Reinhold accept the award on behalf of the co-op.

 

Renew Wisconsin Summit 2019

Renewable Energy Champions Set to Receive Honors at RENEW’s 2019 Summit

(Issued by Renew Wisconsin, 1/14/19)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

January 14, 2019
Tyler Huebner, Executive Director
608.255.4044 x 1
tyler.huebner@renewwisconsin.org

Renewable Energy Champions Set to Receive Honors at RENEW’s 2019 Summit

RENEW’s eighth annual Renewable Energy Summit, set for Thursday, January 17, 2019, will furnish the occasion for recognizing individuals and organizations who have made significant and lasting advances in renewable energy development here in Wisconsin. Titled “Scaling Up for the Job Ahead,” RENEW’s Summit will take place at Monona Terrace in Madison; registration starts at 7:30 AM and the program runs from 8:30 AM to 3:30 PM. The recognition ceremony will begin at 12:45 PM.

At this year’s Summit, RENEW will honor three Renewable Energy Champions for their leadership and accomplishments in 2018. They are:

  • Dane County Executive Joe Parisi
  • Chequamegon Bay Renewables
  • Legacy Solar Cooperative

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