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2018 Solar Investing

Tony Hartmann – 2/20/18

No such thing a ‘sure thing’ when it comes to investing, right? Well, if you think the sun’ll come up tomorrow, investing in solar infrastructure is as close as it gets. Since its beginning, the Legacy Solar Co-op (LSC) has facilitated solar investment not only because renewable energy is clean and sustainable, but because it makes sense economically. A lot of sense. Not-for-profits and home-owners almost always see a return on investment (ROI) in the neighborhood of 10-12%, businesses 15% and more. So, the 2018 solar investor can do good and make a sweet return on their investment…

As Don Pardo used to say, ‘but wait, there’s more…’

Legacy Solar Co-op has long been an advocate for energy efficiency efforts, projects that go hand and glove with distributed (pv) energy production. In Wisconsin, the Focus On Energy (FOE) program does more than just reward you (to the tune of thousands) for installing solar PV. You get further cash dividends by swapping out motors, furnaces, water-heaters, air conditioners, light bulbs/fixtures and much, much more. For starters, rate-payers can get FREE STUFF, like LED bulbs and water-saving fixtures just by going here and choosing a ‘pack’.

but again, there’s more… Read more

Steve and Beth Israel solar panels

Beth Israel Center *

* LSC Member

LOCATION: Madison, Wisconsin   |   CAPACITY: 65 kW   |   COMPLETION DATE: December 2017


We installed a 65 kW solar array that is producing nearly half of the electricity consumed by our synagogue. By significantly reducing our carbon footprint, this project affirms our commitment to the traditional teaching of Tikkun Olam — the notion that we are responsible for “repair of the world.” Undoubtedly, the long-term economics of solar are such that investments like these are highly favorable. With Legacy Solar Coop’s help, we were able to structure the financing so that, in the near term, we could satisfy our fiscally conservative constraints. Throughout the process, Kurt Reinhold guided us through many aspects of the financing and was exceedingly generous with his time.

– Steve Goldstein, Board of Directors and Member, Beth Israel

A traditional, egalitarian synagogue in Madison, Wisconsin, Member Beth Israel Center is a vibrant and diverse community of 260 families — a caring, spiritual home that is alive with celebration, learning, prayer and a commitment to tikkun olam.

Read more

Fitchburg City Hall - photo courtesy of Arch Electric

City of Fitchburg

LOCATION: Fitchburg, Wisconsin   |   CAPACITY: 362KW   |   COMPLETION DATE: November 2017

Arch Electric Logo

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The City of Fitchburg is committed to renewable energy, having installed solar panels on the roofs of their buildings starting in 2009. LSC provided site assessments, City staff support, financial cost and benefit projections, RFP support, and public meeting testimony for the solar project that led to adding almost 1,000 panels (362 kW) to the West Fire Station, City Hall, Public Works Maintenance Facility and the Fitchburg Public Library. The project added about 452,000 kWh of renewable electricity. Read more

Breitenmoser Family Farm *

* LSC Member

LOCATION: Merrill, Wisconsin   |   CAPACITY: 19.8 kW   |   COMPLETION DATE: November 2017

North Wind Renewable Energy Co-op

Member Breitenmoser Family Farm, located in Merrill, is owned and operated by Hans Jr. and Katie Breitenmoser and has been in operation for the last two generations. The Breitenmosers are strong supporters of renewable agriculture in family run farms and rural communities, this not being their first solar installation. They also supported the TB Scott Library project as bondholders and are members of the Wisconsin Farmers Union.

“As we work to influence policy regarding distributed generation in the State of WI, we have to find creative ways to fund solar. Legacy Solar Co-op helps fill that need and provides a means by which more people can enjoy the benefits of a renewable future.”
– Hans Breitenmoser

Read more

General Beverage Rooftop

General Beverage

LOCATION: Fitchburg, Wisconsin   |   CAPACITY: 143 kW   |   COMPLETION DATE: October 2017

Midwest Solar Power

General Beverage Companies (GB) is one of the largest wholesale distributors of wine, distilled spirits, beer and non-alcoholic beverages in Wisconsin, servicing over 11,400 licensed beverage retailers throughout Wisconsin. The company is headquartered in Fitchburg and also has locations in Barron, Chippewa Falls, La Crosse, Little Chute, Milwaukee, Oshkosh, and Stevens Point. LSC worked with GB to start generating 18-20% of their power from solar. Read more

St. Joseph's Convent (The School Sisters of St. Francis) Rooftop

School Sisters of St Francis of St Joseph Convent *

* LSC Member

LOCATION: Milwaukee, Wisconsin   |   CAPACITY: 375 kW   |   COMPLETION DATE: January 2018

Arch Electric Logo

“This solar energy project will enable us to lessen our energy consumption and to invest in our care of the Earth. It is very much in keeping with the way that our province is living out our Congregational Direction by joining with others to raise a common voice for the good of all creation.”

– Sister Carol Rigali, School Sisters of St. Francis (Arch Electric, 7/19/17)

The School Sisters of St. Francis of St. Joseph Convent is an international community of Catholic sisters who unite with others to build a just and peaceful world. Founded in 1874, the organization has more than 1,000 sisters, associates, staff, donors and volunteers actively working to address the needs of those who are poor and marginalized by society. Their sites are located in the United States, Europe, Latin America and India. The School Sisters of St. Francis in Milwaukee is one of nine sponsored or co-sponsored sites in the U.S. Read more

The T.B. Scott Free Library

* LSC Member

LOCATION: Merrill, Wisconsin   |   CAPACITY: 28.63kW   |   COMPLETION DATE: June 2017

North Wind Renewable Energy Co-op

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The T.B. Scott Free Library serves the Merrill area through traditional and innovative services, connecting people to their community and the world. It promotes reading, supports lifelong learning, ensures free and open access to ideas, and provides opportunities for recreation.

The Library has employed both high and low tech ways to save energy for many years, so going solar is just another step in becoming more environmentally friendly and making taxpayer dollars stretch further. Read more

Full Spectrum Solar installation on Housing Initiatives

Housing Initiatives of Madison

* LSC Member

LOCATION: Madison, Wisconsin   |   CAPACITY: 21 kW   |   COMPLETION DATE: December 2016

Full Spectrum Solar logo

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.  Read more

Housing initiatives logo image

Madison nonprofit Housing Initiatives are setting up to save 40% on their power bill

Housing Initiatives has been providing peace, hope, and shelter for Madison area men, women, and veterans for over 20 years.  They work to end homelessness for those who live with severe mental illnesses.  Legacy Solar Co-op is proud to be partnering with such a wonderful organization.

Legacy Solar Co-op will provide 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.  Together, we will help Housing Initiatives achieve lower energy bills by helping them generate their own electricity behind-the-meter, saving them about 40% on their power bills.  Read more

Carport sketch

Legacy Solar Co-op teams with MREA on solar carport project

Legacy Solar Co-op is working with the MREA to develop a 100 kilowatt solar carport to be located on the main grounds of MREA’s headquarters in Custer, Wisconsin.  We will rely on supporters of MREA and members of LSC to buy Solar Bonds to capitalize a fund that will allow MREA to get the best value out of this development.

LSC is looking to sell $240,000 in solar bonds through our Co-op to get this project off the ground this summer!

Learn more about solar bonds and how they help fund community solar projects like this one – while earning you interest!

>> Learn more about the Slice of Sun Solar Bonds program >>