Submit a Comment in Support of the Silver Maple Solar Project

Submit a Comment in Support of the Silver Maple Solar Project

A 200-megawatt (MW) solar project, Silver Maple Solar, has been proposed in Fond du Lac and Winnebago Counties. If approved, Silver Maple Solar is expected to begin producing enough clean energy to power 35,000 Wisconsin homes by the end of 2025.

Solar power projects larger than 100 MW must gain approval from the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSCW) before they can proceed to construction. Along the way, there are opportunities for public comment, including at the PSCW. Earlier this summer, RENEW Wisconsin submitted testimony in support of Silver Maple Solar to the PSCW. Now that the public comment period is open, you can share your support for this project as well.

Silver Maple Solar represents a significant economic investment in rural southeastern Wisconsin, providing steady revenues to area landowners and communities while generating emission-free renewable electricity for more than 30 years. The developer of the project, Leeward Renewable Energy, has provided a high-level overview and a map of the project to help the public better understand its benefits.

Since 2019, the PSCW has issued approvals for 17 solar power projects across Wisconsin, totaling 3,249 MW. With the addition of Silver Maple, solar energy will make up 10% of Wisconsin’s electricity production, the highest share for a state in the Upper Midwest.

Help us demonstrate Wisconsin’s enthusiastic support for projects like this by submitting a comment in support of Silver Maple Solar. Be sure to specifically reference the project and the benefits that it can bring to Wisconsin. The deadline to submit comments is October 13, 2023.

We’ve included a sample message to help you get started. Please keep in mind that the PSCW allows one comment per case and that customizing your message will have a greater impact.

Sample Comment

I’m writing in support of the Silver Maple Solar, under review in Docket No. 9813-CE-100. This project would support local economies and keep energy dollars in state by producing homegrown, renewable energy right here in Wisconsin.


Beyond the economic benefits, the Silver Maple Solar project will also help to displace carbon dioxide, support grid stability, and provide Wisconsinites with an affordable source of electricity. With available land and appropriate infrastructure, projects like this make sense for Wisconsin.


I respectfully encourage the PSCW to rule that Silver Maple Solar is in the public interest and issue a permit enabling the project to proceed to construction. Thank you for your consideration of my views.

$75,000 in Solar Grants Available for Madison Businesses and Nonprofits: Application Period Closing Soon

$75,000 in Solar Grants Available for Madison Businesses and Nonprofits: Application Period Closing Soon

 Madison-based businesses and nonprofits have a unique opportunity to embrace the power of clean energy while easing financial burdens through MadiSUN’s Solar for Business and Backyard Solar Grant programs. The deadline to apply for the Backyard Solar Grant is October 1, 2023. Businesses have until December 31, 2023.

MadiSUN’s Solar for Business and Backyard Solar Grant programs, administered by RENEW Wisconsin, align with the City of Madison’s commitment to achieve 100% renewable energy by 2050. Collectively, the programs have $75,000 in grants available for Madison-based businesses and nonprofits to utilize. Businesses can receive up to $10,000. Nonprofit organizations and affordable housing providers can receive up to $20,000.

“Solar power isn’t just about reducing our carbon footprint; it’s a smart economic choice,” said Lauren Cohen, Program Coordinator of the MadiSUN programs. “With our Solar for Business and Backyard Solar Grant programs, we’re not only helping Madison’s businesses and nonprofits adopt clean energy but also reducing their financial loads.”

Adopting solar has become a strategic move for businesses and nonprofits alike as the cost of solar drops. Transitioning to solar becomes even more affordable when organizations pair the Inflation Reduction Act’s 30% Solar Investment Tax Credit and the grants through MadiSUN.

“The MadiSUN Backyard Solar grant helped make our solar array much more affordable,” said Gabrielle Hinahara, Board Member at the Madison Area Cooperative Housing Alliance and Backyard Solar Grant Recipient. “Our solar array is set to provide 97% of the electricity needs for our 11-person house, which contributes to long-term affordability for our residents.”

As the deadline approaches, organizations are encouraged to seize this opportunity to go solar, reduce upfront costs, and contribute to a more sustainable future. Interested applicants should reach out to

Aldo Leopold’s Land Ethic Electrified

Aldo Leopold’s Land Ethic Electrified

On Saturday, August 26, The Aldo Leopold Foundation Legacy Center celebrated the completion of its newest solar array. Since the conception of the Legacy Center, the Foundation has aimed to achieve what Aldo described as, “The oldest task in human history: to live on a piece of land without spoiling it.”

The Aldo Leopold Foundation is a nonprofit conservation organization with a mission of fostering a land ethic through the legacy of Aldo Leopold. As described by him, the land ethic involves recognizing ourselves as “plain members and citizens” of the land community and treating our fellow members with care and respect.

The Foundation’s dedication to the land ethic is underscored by its new 90-kilowatt solar installation completed by All Sky Energy. This is the Foundation’s second solar installation at the Aldo Leopold Legacy Center, boosting the organization’s goal of achieving net-zero. As a complement to the new solar array, the foundation has also installed three electric vehicle charging stations and added two electric trucks to its fleet.

This project was made possible through the collaborative efforts of All Sky Energy, The Couillard Solar Foundation, OneEnergy Renewables, RENEW Wisconsin, and the Wisconsin Public Service Commission. The main source of funding came from a $152,000 Office of Energy Innovation grant and panel grants from OneEnergy Renewables and Solar for Good.

Buddy Huffaker, President and Executive Director of the Aldo Leopold Foundation, highlighted the significance of this endeavor, stating, “Obviously, this project benefits the Leopold Foundation by reducing our expenses, but we are most excited about the opportunity to continue demonstrating a conservation ethic that informs and inspires others to transition to renewable energy and electrification.”

This initiative resonates deeply with Aldo Leopold’s philosophy of living harmoniously with the land. The Aldo Leopold Foundation aims to lead by example by showcasing how investments in renewable energy promote sustainability while creating a tangible connection between modern living and the land ethic Leopold championed.

With thousands of annual visitors to the Legacy Center, the Aldo Leopold Foundation serves as an example for the broader community. This latest effort to electrify the land ethic has the potential to inspire others to embrace renewable energy solutions and drive rural electrification enhancements.

Chequamegon Humane Association Unleashes New Solar System

Chequamegon Humane Association Unleashes New Solar System

On Thursday, August 24, the Chequamegon Humane Association hosted a solar dedication to celebrate the completion of their 15.12-kilowatt solar array. The 28-panel system, installed by Jolma Electric, is projected to produce over 19,000 kWh annually. This anticipated output will offset 90-100% of the animal shelter’s energy consumption, demonstrating a substantial commitment to clean energy.

The Chequamegon Humane Association is a nonprofit, no-kill animal shelter with a mission to promote and support the humane treatment of animals in the Chequamegon Bay area and beyond. 

The nonprofit expects to save as much as $2,735 per year. Over the lifetime of the system, these savings will add up to more than $80,000 and will be reinvested into the organization, offsetting some of the expenses associated with providing essential health services for the animals in their care. 

The success of this solar installation was made possible by a collaborative effort. The project received valuable support from various sources. Solar for Good contributed half of the solar panels required for the project. The remaining funding was covered by a rebate from Focus on Energy and community-raised funds. The local community played a pivotal role in this effort, coming together to contribute approximately $17,000 to bridge the remaining funding gap.

The significance of this solar initiative reached beyond its immediate impact. The Chequamegon Humane Association’s decision to embrace solar energy not only benefits their own operations but also sets a powerful example for other animal shelters to follow. The economic benefits realized through reduced electricity bills offer the organization the ability to allocate these funds to other essential programs and services that align with its mission. Their forward-thinking approach to cost savings through renewable energy will serve as a model for shelters across the state.

The Chequamegon Humane Association’s solar journey highlights their commitment not only to the well-being of their animals but to the well-being of their community. Through their efforts, the Chequamegon Humane Association paves the way for a more sustainable and compassionate future for animal shelters all around Wisconsin. 


Protect Rooftop Solar in Wisconsin

Protect Rooftop Solar in Wisconsin

Net metering is a utility billing policy that enables customers who generate electricity from their own solar systems to receive a bill credit for any energy they export to the grid. This arrangement encourages residential and business customers to invest in solar power, reducing carbon emissions and providing substantial economic benefits to their neighbors and communities.

According to Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), “traditional net energy metering (NEM) is fundamentally a bill credit that represents the full retail value of distributed electricity delivered to the distribution system, and has been a critical policy for valuing and enabling distributed generation.”

If passed, this utility proposal will depress demand for rooftop solar, leading to layoffs for local clean energy workers, creating new hardships for customers and local governments in meeting their clean energy goals, and moving solar out of reach for many Wisconsinites.

We’ve included sample messages for you to submit comments to the PSCW. The PSCW allows one comment per case. As you prepare your comments, keep in mind that customizing your message will have a greater impact. Comments are the most effective when they are short, to the point, and have a personal perspective. Please take the time to share why net metering is important to you! MGE’s comment period is open through September 26.

Sample Message –    MGE:

I’m writing in support of fair net metering policies for Wisconsin. The changes to net metering under review in Docket No. 3270-UR-125 would make investing in rooftop solar harder and more expensive.

Net metering empowers Wisconsinites to take control of their energy consumption, reduce their carbon footprint, and contribute to a cleaner, more sustainable future. It is the single most important policy enabling every Wisconsin home, farm, business, and institution to own solar. By reducing strain on the grid, stabilizing energy prices, and fostering job growth, the benefits of net metering extend well beyond the solar customer.

Madison Gas and Electric’s proposal before the Public Service Commission will unfairly reduce the compensation customers receive for the energy they produce with their investment in solar. In addition, the compensation rates will be subject to change every year, creating uncertainty over the system’s value in the long term. Advancing this proposal will make it more difficult for people who cannot afford the upfront cost of purchasing solar panels to find the financing they might need, and will discourage the adoption of rooftop solar, negatively impacting our local economy.

Rooftop solar can be a boon for historically marginalized communities, providing access to clean energy and reducing utility bills for households disproportionately burdened by high electricity costs. These savings free up resources for other essentials like education, healthcare, and better living conditions. Our energy policies should be making it easier for all Wisconsinites to reap the benefits of clean energy.

Now is not the time to derail our progress on distributed solar in Wisconsin!

Thank you for your support on this important issue.


Please send them to Executive Director, Sam Dunaiski, at


Electric School Buses – the Clean and Cost-Effective Transportation Solution for Your Community and School District.

Electric School Buses – the Clean and Cost-Effective Transportation Solution for Your Community and School District.

Electric school buses have zero tailpipe emissions, offering clean and healthy rides and reducing operating expenses. However, the upfront cost of $375,000 is a significant barrier. Fortunately, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s Clean School Bus Program allows school districts in all 50 states to replace old diesel buses with new electric buses at no cost.

Last month, I drove a school bus for the first time. Despite not having much experience driving large vehicles, I was pleasantly surprised by how similar it felt to driving my 2020 Chevy Bolt EV. The ride was smooth and quiet, and the regenerative braking system made it easy to control the large bus without needing to use the brakes too often. Overall, it was a comfortable and enjoyable experience.

The electric bus I drove – a LionC electric school bus – can carry 77 students for up to 155 miles on a single charge. This bus was fresh off the assembly line at the new LION assembly plant in Joliet, IL. The plant is located about 90 miles south of the Wisconsin border and is North America’s largest electric school bus assembly plant. The plant opened earlier this year and will support 1,400 Clean Energy Jobs and produce 20,000 fully electric school buses and electric trucks per year.  

Why Clean School Buses? 

Every day, more than 25 million American children rely on school buses for safe transport to and from school, collectively covering over three billion miles each year. However, the exhaust from these buses can harm human health, particularly for children whose lungs are still developing. To address this issue, the Clean School Bus Program provides rebates and grants to replace existing diesel and gas-powered buses with cleaner models. This initiative aims to improve air quality as well as the safety and well-being of our students, their bus drivers, and the surrounding communities.

Electric school buses are both cleaner and cheaper to operate than diesel buses. On average, diesel buses use 6 miles per gallon [mpg], while electric buses boost that efficiency to an equivalent of 17 mpg. Electric school buses can save more than $170,000 on fuel and maintenance throughout their lifespan. Furthermore, Wisconsin’s lack of petroleum production means that switching to electric buses can keep our energy dollars in the state, support local jobs, and contribute to the state’s general economic growth.

Wisconsin Schools are Going Electric!

Last fall, 15 school districts in Wisconsin took advantage of the Clean School Bus Program and were awarded 65 electric school buses scheduled to be delivered by October 2024. The EPA is now preparing for a second round of rebates, which will be announced this fall. Schools and transportation contractors can apply online for Clean School Bus rebates, which are awarded through a lottery system. Priority is given to rural, tribal, and high-need school districts. Those that qualify can receive up to $395,000 to purchase a bus and charging station in exchange for an older diesel bus for up to 25 buses. The list of prioritized school districts can be found here.

You can sign up for updates on the Clean School Bus Program and see the list of 2022 award recipients. For more information on electric school buses, route planning assistance, and applying to the EPA’s program, contact Francisco Sayu, Director of Emerging Technology at RENEW Wisconsin, at

Diesel School Buses Negatively Impact Children’s Health: The Solution — Electric Buses

Diesel School Buses Negatively Impact Children’s Health: The Solution — Electric Buses

Growing up in Wisconsin, I took the bus to school every day. I remember playing games outside with kids from my neighborhood as we all waited for the bus. I also remember the growing headaches, finding it odd that my asthma would worsen, and how I would often cough or struggle to catch my breath while trying to talk with my friends as we got off the bus.

I used to describe this as feeling “blah” as I started my school day. Symptoms like these are unfortunately common for children exposed to exhaust from the diesel buses they take to and from school every day.

According to 2022 data from the World Resources Institute, more than 20,000,000 U.S. children ride the school bus across the United States, and over 90% of U.S. school buses run on diesel fuel. In Wisconsin, the Wisconsin School Bus Association reports that approximately 50% of school children ride the bus, with the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) reporting more than 800,000 enrolled students and over 347,000 students transported. It’s also important to note that the private school students transported by Wisconsin public school districts are not included in these numbers.

While a short bus ride may seem harmless, the tailpipe emissions from a diesel bus can and do have negative impacts on children’s health, moods, and lung development. While diesel buses drive students to school or sit idling in front of schools, children are exposed to unhealthy concentrations of pollutants.

Even if a diesel bus is not pumping out black smoke, this doesn’t mean it is not releasing harmful emissions into the surrounding air. According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), nitrogen oxides in diesel emissions can cause tiredness, irritability, headaches, and nausea, but greater symptoms appear in the high number of children riding to school with asthma.

Children makeup roughly 40% of all asthma cases despite representing only about 25% of the United States population, and nearly 100,000 students in Wisconsin are recorded to have asthma each year. Research has concluded that diesel exhaust can cause daily irritation of asthma, leading to an increase in the severity and frequency of asthma attacks. Such emissions can cause inflammation of the airways that can cause the onset of asthma or lead to a long-term increase in the severity of asthma.

study conducted in 2017 found that a child will typically miss three to five school days after an asthma attack, often alongside a parent or guardian who must also miss work. Reducing an asthmatic child’s exposure to diesel exhaust can decrease the number and severity of asthma attacks they may have and increase their attendance and well-being in school.

So, the headaches, lethargy, and shortness of breath I felt are among the common immediate symptoms from diesel exhaust exposure, especially for a child with asthma like I was, but what about the other long-term health effects?

Many institutions, including the Internal Agency for Research on Cancer, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, and the National Toxicology Program, have concluded that diesel exhaust is a harmful carcinogen. They found that exposure to such pollution is closely tied to the development of lung cancer.

Diesel exhaust contains multiple EPA criteria air pollutants, such as sulfur dioxide and fine particulate matter, as well as over 40 chemical compounds that are classified as a Toxic Air Contaminant (TAC) by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). Fine particulate matter in diesel exhaust can be especially harmful. These pollutants are smaller than 1 micron in diameter, allowing them to penetrate deep into the lungs leading to decreased lung function, further increased risk of lung cancer, and increased asthma severity.

Children, whose lungs are still developing, breathe at faster rates than adults, making them more susceptible to these health risks. In a study conducted by the NRDC titled “No Breathing in the Aisles,” scientists were able to specify just how much diesel exhaust children were exposed to on their daily routes to and from school and how this exposure threatened children’s health.

Luckily, emissions from diesel buses have improved with newer bus models since this study was completed due to EPA updates on filtration requirements, but immense volumes of diesel exhaust still spew out of school bus tailpipes today. More recently (in 2016), the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) released a landmark report citing research, including a 2015 University of Michigan study linking the negative effects of diesel emissions on the health of school children, particularly for those in disadvantaged groups who are more likely to ride the bus to school.

In response to the negative health link between diesel emissions and school children’s developmental health, the EPA launched the Clean School Bus USA fleet upgrade program for diesel school buses in 2013, which supported the adoption of cleaner technology, including diesel emissions controls and propane. The EPA also instituted an ongoing national idle reduction campaign for school buses and, more recently, Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) funding to reduce toxic emissions from all diesel vehicles.

The benefits of transitioning to cleaner modes of transportation are clear, especially when you consider that there is no known safe level of exposure to diesel exhaust for children. Electric school buses are a cleaner, healthier alternative to diesel buses. These vehicles lead to a 100% reduction in tailpipe emissions per diesel bus replacement. However, the daunting upfront costs often deter school districts and school bus providers from purchasing them.

The EPA has offered a solution to this expensive issue. With funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law of 2021, the EPA launched the  Clean School Bus (CSB) Rebates Program to assist districts in the shift to clean and zero-emissions (ZE) electric school buses for U.S. school children. This program allows school districts and third-party bus companies to apply for rebates so they can replace their old diesel buses with new electric school buses at no cost.

Lion C electric busIn fact, with the costs of recharging and maintenance for electric school buses being significantly lower than that of refueling and maintenance costs for diesel buses, school districts can save thousands of dollars every year by transitioning to these clean buses.

In the 2022 funding cycle, 15 districts in Wisconsin were awarded rebates from the EPA for a total of 65 electric school buses that are expected to go into operation during the 2024 school year. This will aid in the transition to zero carbon emissions for students in Wisconsin and positively impact their health and development going forward.

The EPA CSB Program decreases the pressure on school districts to cover the daunting upfront costs of electric school buses. With this funding, schools can feel reassured in their decision to make a cost-effective transition to cleaner, healthier buses for their students. This opportunity, however, will not be around forever. The time to take action and improve the health and well-being of Wisconsin students is now.

Sign up today to stay in touch about the Clean School Bus Program here. For further information about electric school buses, the Clean School Bus Program, and how you can help your school district transition to cleaner transportation, feel free to contact Francisco Sayu, Emerging Technologies Director at RENEW Wisconsin, at

Happy National Andrew Day!

Happy National Andrew Day!

August 1st is National Andrew Day! RENEW sat down with our Andrew for the occasion.

Q: Hey, Andrew, when do you first hear about August 1 being ‘National Andrew Day’?

A: Just now, when you told me. 

Q: Now that you know, what do you think?

A: I’m a bit perplexed that I hadn’t heard about it before, to be honest. But mostly just stoked to be part of something bigger than me.

Q: So, you work on energy policy with RENEW Wisconsin. What’s that like?

A: Every day, I’m hustling for renewable energy in Wisconsin; it’s great! We educate, collaborate, and advocate – all good things. It’s something I’m passionate about, so it has been very fulfilling work. I also get to bring my dog, Mocha, into the office, and that makes everything better.

Specifically, I’m very proud of my collaborative work on our Zero Carbon Cost Benefit Analysis Report and Wisconsin’s Roadmap to Net Zero by 2050 Report. 

Q: Tell us more about you, though; what it’s like to be an Andrew?

A: Oh, you know, ups and downs, strikes and gutters, little of this, little of that. Probably not much different from being a George or Tom or whatever. 

Q: Do you go by Andrew, Drew, Andy, or what’s your preference?

A: Whatever’s clever, I guess. By default, I say Andrew. Andy is cool, though. I went by Andy as a kid, but there’s a whole story there.

Q: Go on…

A: Well, my birthname was Andrew, but my folks called me Andy, which I think makes sense. You don’t want to patronize your son by calling him Andrew right out of the womb. You might as well adopt a British accent and say, ‘Does Sir Andrew want two lumps of sugar with his tea, or just one?’ So yeah, Andy made sense for the time and place. And I probably would have wanted three lumps because I was a baby, and tea is bitter.

Fast forward to middle school, and everyone started calling me by my surname, Kell, that is. Through high school and college I was pretty much just known as “Kell.” When I went to college, several high school friends went to the same college as me, and that trend just continued, for better or worse. A few professors called me Andy, but everyone else was like, ‘Kelldawg, what’s up?’ 

I’m not gonna bore you any further, but I think I bucked the whole ‘Kell’ thing sometime after college. Instead of introducing myself as Andy, I went with Andrew. Sounds a bit more sophisticated, right? I mean, I was now the holder of a Bachelor of Arts degree in English, But that’s all ancient history now, and I’m ok with Andy or Andrew. I wouldn’t mind a Drew here and there, either. Maybe I should start introducing myself as Drew just for funsies.

Q: Well, ok, wow, that’s fascinating. Anyway, have you met many other Andrews in your time on this great planet of ours?

A: Yes, a ton. You know, I never came across that many until I moved to Madison. And now it’s like you can’t throw a stone without hitting an Andrew. 

When I worked at the PSC, I think they had an Andrew quota or something. There was like five to ten Andrews at any given moment when I was there. I labeled affectionately myself ‘Andrew #9’. I tried to adopt the ‘nanu-nanu’ greeting from Mork and Mindy as the official Andrew greeting while I was there, but I don’t think any of the other Andrews were as enthusiastic as I was.

Anyway, maybe I can find a pub full of Andrews on Aug 1 and kick-start that greeting nationwide this year. That’s my hope, at least. Just happy to be part of something bigger than me.

Q: Any parting words of wisdom?

A: Yeah, if you see me out on August 1, buy me a drink! I promise to tell a tale of one of my great Andrew adventures, and the words of wisdom I’m sure will flow. You won’t be disappointed.

Oh, and if a petition comes across your desk to make this an ‘International Andrew Day,’ please sign on that dotted line. 

With proper planning and policies in place, Wisconsin can follow this roadmap and reap the benefits of a zero-carbon future. This is just the start of a dialog on how Wisconsin can get to zero carbon emissions. 

Andrew Kell

Policy Director, RENEW Wisconsin

Sunlight for Shelter: Rotary Club Partners with Salvation Army for Solar Project

Sunlight for Shelter: Rotary Club Partners with Salvation Army for Solar Project

On Monday, July 24, The Rotary Club of Greater Portage County hosted a solar dedication ceremony to celebrate the completion of The Salvation Army Hope Center solar project. It will provide clean energy, reduce energy costs, and reinforce the Hope Center’s mission to provide secure and safe housing for the temporarily displaced and homeless in Stevens Point.

The Rotary Club of Greater Portage County selected the Salvation Army Hope Center solar project in alignment with Rotary International’s newly created Environmental Sustainability Area of Focus. The project will not only educate the community on the benefits of solar energy but benefit Stevens Point in a way that aligns with the Rotary’s mission. Thanks to this project, the Hope Center will be able to focus more resources on its work to provide shelter and warm meals for those in need.

“The Salvation Army Hope Center Solar Project was conceived as a way to increase community awareness of the environmental benefits of solar electric power while enhancing the Salvation Army’s resources to provide lodging and meals to families in need,” said Richard Zahn, Grants and International Team Lead of the Rotary Club. “Completion of the project has been a true collaboration with funding and support provided by three major grant partners, community donations, and local Rotarians.”

Northwind Solar installed the 7-kilowatt ground-mounted array, which is expected to produce 9,000-kilowatt hours of energy annually. This will offset around 15% of the Salvation Army Hope Center’s electrical demand.

“We are thrilled at Northwind to be able to provide renewable energy to an organization that serves the community,” said Dylan Jenkins, Project Manager with Northwind Solar. “We are always happy to help reduce the carbon footprint of our neighbors, and doing so with an establishment that’s dedicated to helping others is extra special.”

The Hope Center Solar Project received funding through various sources, including a panel donation from Solar for Good, a District Rotary grant, a Community Foundation of Central Wisconsin grant, and several individual donations. The combined support from these partners demonstrates the collective commitment to create a sustainable and thriving community.

By harnessing the power of solar energy, The Rotary Club of Greater Portage County and the Salvation Army Hope Center remain dedicated to driving positive change in the community while encouraging environmental stewardship. The success of this project stands as a testament to the transformative impact that can be achieved through collaborative efforts and a dedication to a cleaner and more sustainable future. 

By harnessing the power of solar energy, The Rotary Club of Greater Portage County and the Salvation Army Hope Center remain dedicated to driving positive change while encouraging environmental stewardship. The success of this project stands as a testament to the transformative impact that can be achieved through collaborative efforts and a dedication to a cleaner, more sustainable future. 

From Classrooms to Solar Panels: Clyde Community Center’s Solar Journey

From Classrooms to Solar Panels: Clyde Community Center’s Solar Journey

On Sunday, July 16, The Clyde Community Center hosted a dedication to celebrate and commemorate the completion of their 8-kilowatt solar array. Formerly an elementary school, the Clyde Community Center’s mission is to foster community by providing a space for Avoca, WI, residents to host programs or participate in recreational activities.

The ground-mounted solar array is projected to produce 10,000-kilowatt hours of annual energy, offsetting 100% of the community center’s current usage. This transition to solar power is just the first step in the Clyde Community Center’s long-term vision of implementing energy-efficient upgrades.

“Our former grade school means a lot to the residents of our township as a public gathering place, but it needs upgrades,” said Juniper Sundance, Solar Champion of the Clyde Community Center.

Planned upgrades include replacing and adding insulation, installing energy-efficient lighting, and replacing the classroom air conditioning units and wall furnaces with heat pumps. These improvements will optimize the solar system’s performance by minimizing energy waste and ensuring the community center maximizes its renewable energy potential.

This project was made possible through various financial rebates and grants, including an $11,500 Focus on Energy Rebate and a $1,200 grant from Solar for Good. Clyde Community Center also received several donations from its community members.

The Clyde Community Center solar project can be largely accredited to the town’s residents who already use solar to power their homes and understand how beneficial additional solar would be for their community. “Living in an area without much infrastructure, we are aware of our need for sustainable systems,” said Sundance. “We see a potential for educating our neighbors on solar.”

The involvement of Clyde residents serves as a powerful testament to the idea that people are far more likely to install solar when they see someone they know and trust already using it successfully. This solar installation is another example for others within the township to follow.

Clyde Community Center’s solar installation demonstrates the organization’s commitment to the environment as well as its residents. By installing this system, the center can continue serving the town for years to come.