New York Roadtrip 2019

Road Tripping in a Rented EV: How we spent our Summer vacation while taking climate action.

Nick Hein, 10/6/19

1. The Call to Action

A good friend of ours spends her summers in the Adirondacks at a family-owned wilderness camp north of Utica, NY and invited us to come and visit. As the summer was nearing an end, my fiance’ and I realized that we hadn’t taken a vacation and decided to go a few weeks after Labor Day when most of the vacation travel had settled down. However, this was also the week of the climate strike Day of Action and we wanted our travel to align with it even if we would be far away. We began considering our options for low-impact travel. Read more

Camp Shalom Youth Center (Jewish Federation of Madison)

LOCATION: Verona, Wisconsin
CAPACITY: 10.8 kW
START DATE: December 2018
SOLAR CONTRACTOR:
Midwest Solar Power

 

 

Camp Shalom has been in operation since 1954, making it the oldest (and its the largest) day camp in Dane County. Sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Madison and residing within the Goodman Jewish Community Center, it, along with Camp Shalom Noar-Bogrim, which has educational and engaging programming from 6-9 grades, serves over 1,000 children at its beautiful location in rural Town of Verona. Camp Shalom has a track record of never denying a child a camp experience because of financial need.

The Goodman Jewish Community Center has long had a commitment to sustainability. Legacy Solar Co-op was happy to expand the Federation’s sustainability goals by adding a photovoltaic electric, roof-mounted system on the roof of a smaller building behind the main camp structure, as well as the pergola in front of the building. The system, which consists of 72 cell mono-crystalline solar modules, will produce a minimum of 12,000kWh annually, or about 40% of their energy usage. After 25 years, the system is still expected to produce at least 80% of current, installed capacity. This project lowers the camp’s utility bills making more money available for outreach to families in need and summer programming and camping experiences for our youth.

Read more

Oregon Ice Arena Ribbon Cutting Celebrates a Project Completed

Legacy Solar Co-op Team, 8/1/19

On June 20, Legacy Solar Co-op, member installer Full Spectrum Solar and Renew Wisconsin helped Oregon Ice Arena celebrate the completion of its rooftop solar array. For over a month, the arena has been generating about 25% of its energy from its rooftop solar array. The irony of it is that energy from the sun powers the heat pumps in the building, which help keep the ice as close to freezing as possible. The mere existence of the 560 panels means less sun exposure and helps the arena save dramatically on cooling costs during peak demand.

Oregon Ice Arena Ribbon Cutting, June 20, 2019

Turn Sunshine into Money with Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs)

Jackie Harrison-Jewell, 8/1/19

Solar electricity is worth more than just clean power.  It has externalized benefits that are worth money, so the concept of Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs) was created to credit producers for those benefits.  Every time 1,000 kWh of electricity is generated, it is recorded as an (SREC)The SREC is sold separately from the electricity and represents the “solar” aspect of the electricity that was produced. Why bother doing this?  Several states have a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) for solar – a mandated percentage of total energy that must be generated by solar energy.  In states that have this mandate, the value of an SREC is determined by the market subject to supply and demand constraints. SRECs can be sold to electricity suppliers needing to meet their solar RPS requirement.  Read more

Legacy Solar Co-op events placeholder graphic

Free Community Film Screening – Paris to Pittsburgh

When: August 15, 2019 @ 6:30-8:30pm

Where: Sequoya Branch Library (4340 Tokay Blvd, Madison, Wisconsin 53711)

Legacy Solar Co-op joins the Mount Horeb Area Citizens’ Climate and other energy-minded folks to view Paris to Pittsburgh, a film that celebrates how Americans are demanding and developing real solutions in the face of climate change. As the weather grows more deadly and destructive, they aren’t waiting on Washington to act. Learn more about the film here.

* 6:30 pm – Community Organizations Introductions and Info Sharing
* 6:45 pm – Paris to Pittsburgh Film
* 8:00 pm – Discussion and Action Opportunities

RSVP Here.

Paris to Pittsburgh Movie Poster

Project Update

Solar Ribbon Cutting – Sawyer County Housing Authority

When: August 2, 2019 @ 1:00pm

Where: 15784 Illinois Ave, Hayward, WI 54843-5102

Renew Wisconsin, along with Legacy Solar Co-op, member installed Carlson Electric and Focus on Energy, are hosting a ribbon cutting for the Sawyer County Housing Authority to celebrate their series of newly-constructed solar arrays.

RSVP Here.

Vista Village in Hayward, part of Sawyer County Housing Authority

Vista Village in Hayward, part of Sawyer County Housing Authority

Project Update

VFW Post 8483 – Solar Ribbon-Cutting

On Saturday, May 25th, 2019, the VFW Truax Longmire Post 8483 will host a ribbon-cutting event for their newly-constructed solar array. Partners RENEW Wisconsin, Midwest Solar Power LLC, and Legacy Solar Co-op will share in the celebration. The VFW was awarded a $10,000 grant from the Solar for Good program to help with the installation of the array.

RSVP at https://www.facebook.com/events/2318011535153183/

VFW Post 8483 (courtesy of Renew Wisconsin)

VFW Post 8483 (courtesy of Renew Wisconsin)

Man climbing stairs with sunrise background

The Sustainability StairClimb: Strategy

Nick Hein, 4/25/19

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