Over $6.3 Million in Renewable Energy Projects Spurred by “Solar for Good” Grants

Over $6.3 Million in Renewable Energy Projects Spurred by “Solar for Good” Grants

MADISON, WI – The Solar for Good grant program has awarded over $450,000 in grants and solar panel donations to Wisconsin nonprofit organizations. Thirty-five nonprofits will install over 2,200 kilowatts of solar electricity, leading to more than $6 million in renewable energy investments in Wisconsin.

The following organizations have been offered Spring 2022 Solar for Good grants to install new solar energy systems:

Agrace HospiceCare – health care, Janesville
Albany Lions Club – community services, Albany
Aldo Leopold Foundation – conservation, Baraboo
Antigo Public Library – community services, Antigo
City of Altoona – affordable housing, Altoona
Couleecap – community services, Westby
Curative Connections – human services, Green Bay
Dane County Humane Society’s Wildlife Center – conservation, Madison
Edgerton Retirement Apartments – affordable housing, Edgerton
Emmanuel Community United Methodist Church – religious, Menomonee Falls
Homeless Assistance Leadership Organization (HALO) – human services, Racine
Hawthorn Hollow Nature Sanctuary and Arboretum – conservation, Kenosha
Hunger Task Force – meal distribution, West Milwaukee
Lawrence University – education, Baileys Harbor
Madison Area Cooperative Housing Alliance (MACHA) – affordable housing, Madison
McFarland Lutheran Church – religious, McFarland
Milwaukee Teachers Education Association (MTEA) – education, Milwaukee
Movin’ Out – affordable housing, Cottage Grove
Mt. Calvary Lutheran Church – religious, Trempealeau
Northwest Side Community Development Corp – community development, Milwaukee
Outreach Community Health Center – health care, Milwaukee
Racine County Food Bank – meal distribution, Racine
Rivers and Bluffs Animal Shelter – animal shelter, Prairie du Chien
Rooted – agriculture, Madison
Southwestern Wisconsin Community Action Program – community services, Dodgeville
St. Mary Parish – religious, Omro
St. Robert Parish – religious, Shorewood
Tina’s K9 Rescue – animal shelter, Sparta
Trinity Episcopal Church – religious, Baraboo
Union Congregational United Church of Christ – religious, Green Bay
Vernon Economic Development Association – community services, Viroqua
Westcare Wisconsin – human services, Milwaukee
Wisconsin Housing Preservation Corp – affordable housing, Madison
Woodland Dunes Nature Center and Preserve – conservation, Two Rivers
*One organization has asked to remain anonymous at this time.

The grant recipients from the Spring 2022 round represent various sizes and types of nonprofits from across Wisconsin. Curative Connections, an organization that provides services to older adults with disabilities, will install a 280-kW ground-mounted solar array to offset nearly half of their electricity use. Over 80 solar panels will be installed on the rooftop of Outreach Community Health Center in Milwaukee to provide electricity for their medical, dental, and podiatry services. And Couleecap, an organization that works to fight poverty, will install two solar arrays at low-income housing facilities, directly offsetting the electricity use of their tenants.

“Without the Solar for Good Program, it would be difficult for low-income households to participate in solar programs that reduce energy costs and benefit their community,” says Hetti Brown, Executive Director of Couleecap. “The program is an important tool in our effort to reduce energy poverty for the rural residents of Wisconsin.”

Each organization agrees to highlight their solar project and provide education to their community about the benefits of solar energy as a requirement of their grant award.

“There are no publicly available solar installations within Langlade County, and we can offer tours for school children and the public,” said Dominic Frandrup, Director of the Antigo Public Library. “The long-term vision of the library is to also offer EV charging for downtown revitalization and eventually have an EV bookmobile to replace our gasoline van.

The 35 nonprofits are a part of Solar for Good’s 10th round of funding. The program has offered solar grants to 152 Wisconsin-based nonprofits since it began in 2017. Once projects are complete and energized, Solar for Good grant recipients will add over 7.3 megawatts of renewable energy to Wisconsin’s electric grid, providing enough electricity to power approximately 1,400 Wisconsin households.

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About Solar for Good RENEW Wisconsin’s Solar for Good initiative fosters the expansion of solar power among mission-based nonprofits and houses of worship in Wisconsin. Through a generous partnership with Couillard Solar Foundation, RENEW Wisconsin awards grants and solar panels to nonprofit organizations, helping them switch to clean, renewable, solar energy.
About Couillard Solar Foundation The Couillard Solar Foundation is a 501c3 nonprofit and our mission is to further the urgent path to decarbonization for Wisconsin, and create a cleaner, safer environment for everyone, regardless of socio-economic status. We help schools and nonprofits gain vital access to solar power, by providing solar panels, programs and education through the Solar for Good and Solar on Schools grant programs. For more information please visit www.CouillardSolarFoundation.org or follow on LinkedIn, Facebook, or Instagram.
RENEW Celebrates Memorial Day in Monona

RENEW Celebrates Memorial Day in Monona

On Monday, May 30th, RENEW Wisconsin was honored to be able to participate in the Monona (WI) Memorial Day parade. Emerging Technology Director Francisco Sayu and Distributed Resources Director Sam Dunaiski were in attendance with their family members and a few large bags of candy.

The parade offered staff members a chance to get out and meet with members of the community and honor those Americans who gave their lives for their country.

“The parade was a good reminder of the sacrifices made to protect our people and our collective capacity for accomplishing great things,” said Sayu. “A simple – but meaningful – example of our ability to come together to celebrate our progress and envision a bright future – despite our differences.”

Friend of the organization, Geoff Hoffman, owner of Hoffman Manufacturing, offered his custom-redesigned, all-electric DeLorean to use as the RENEW vehicle for the parade. The car was an instant hit with many parade-goers, even before many realized it was an electric vehicle (EV). 

“It was great to attend the parade again after a two-year COVID hiatus,” stated Hoffman. “This event is all about honoring the folks that have served and sacrificed for us.”

RENEW staff answered dozens of questions from the public about EVs and how using renewable energy for EV charging could help us achieve deep decarbonization of our transportation sector. More importantly, the parade offered an opportunity for staff to illustrate the benefits of a decarbonized economy for Wisconsinites.

“We need more opportunities to find common ground,” continued Sayu. “I enjoyed seeing so many different families coming together to share this experience.”

RENEW staff had a fantastic time at the parade and are incredibly grateful for the opportunity to participate. We hope we opened a few minds to renewable energy and electric vehicles, and we had a great time doing it!

Apply now for a Clean School Bus in your Community: the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) School Bus Rebates

Apply now for a Clean School Bus in your Community: the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) School Bus Rebates

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), also known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), was signed last November. It provides $5 billion to replace existing school buses with clean and zero-emission (ZE) school buses. This funding administered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) can benefit school districts in Wisconsin by providing up to 100% of the cost of electric school buses, reducing transportation costs by 60%, and improving air quality throughout Wisconsin communities.

Why Clean School Buses? 

School buses collectively travel over three billion miles each year, providing the safest transportation to and from school for more than 25 million American children every day. Exhaust from these buses harms human health, especially for children who have faster breathing rates than adults and whose lungs are not yet fully developed. The Clean School Bus Rebates (CSB Rebates) will fund the replacement of existing diesel and gas-powered buses with cleaner buses that result in better air quality, bus loading areas, and the community in general.

Cleaner buses such as those powered with electricity (electric buses) get the equivalent of 17 miles per gallon (MPG) compared to 6 MPG for diesel buses, providing average fuel and maintenance savings of $170,000 across the lifecycle of the bus. Wisconsin’s electric grid is increasingly powered by renewable energy sources like solar and wind. Transitioning away from diesel and gasoline to local – homegrown energy – will reduce air pollution and strengthen local economies.

2022 Clean School Bus Rebates Overview

The first $500 million of the Clean School Bus Program will be awarded as lottery rebates. The lottery will prioritize applications from low-income, rural, tribal, and/or high-needs school districts. Nearly 200 Wisconsin school districts are on the priority list. School Districts can receive up to $375,000 rebate per school bus (up to 25 buses per district) and $20,000 for EV chargers. The deadline to apply for this year’s rebate program is August 19, 2022.

Important Dates

Activity Date
Online application. Submissions here May 20, August 19, 2022
EPA reviews applications and begins the selection process September 2022
EPA notifies applicants of selection and posts selectees online. Selectees can proceed with purchasing new buses and eligible infrastructure. October 2022
Selectees submit Payment Request Forms with purchase orders  October 2022 – April 2023
Deadline to receive new buses, install EV chargers, replace old buses, and submit final documentation. October 2024

Eligible Applicants

The following entities are eligible to apply for EPA school bus rebates:

  • State and local governmental entities provide bus services, such as public school districts, including charter schools, with an NCES District ID.
  • Eligible contractors such as for-profit or nonprofit entities that can sell or finance clean or ZE school buses or related charging infrastructure to school bus owners.
  • Nonprofit school transportation associations
  • Indian tribes, tribal organizations, or tribally controlled schools are responsible for purchasing school buses or providing school bus service for a Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) funded school.

To be eligible for replacement, old school buses must:

  • Have a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of 10,001 lbs. or more
  • Be operational at the time of application submission – Able to start, move in all directions, and have all operational parts
  • Have provided bus service to a public school district for at least three days/week on average during the 2021/2022 school year at the time of applying, excluding COVID-related school closures
  • If selected for replacement, a fleet can either:
    • Scrap 2010 or older internal combustion engine buses; or
    • Scrap, sell or donate 2011 or newer internal combustion engine buses.

Eligible replacement buses must meet the following criteria:

  • Have a battery-electric, CNG, or propane drivetrain
  • Be EPA certified vehicle model year 2021 or newer
  • Have a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of 10,001 lbs. or more
  • Not be ordered before receiving official notification of selection for EPA funding
  • Be purchased, not leased or leased-to-own
  • Serve the school district listed on the application for at least five years from delivery.

For questions about eligibility, please contact cleanschoolbus@epa.gov.  

Selection Process and Prioritization

The Clean School Bus Program prioritizes high-need school districts. Applicants that serve a prioritized school district will be offered more funding per bus and receive preference in the selection process. 

Here is a list of prioritized school districts in Wisconsin. 

Schools may also contact Francisco Sayu, Emerging Technologies Director RENEW Wisconsin at francisco@renewwisconsin.org, for more information.

 

Now is the time for Cooperative Investment in Clean Energy

Now is the time for Cooperative Investment in Clean Energy

Cory Neeley
Director, SolarShare WI Cooperative

This year’s theme for Earth Day was “Invest In Our Planet.” There are many ways to invest in our planet, and I’m excited to announce a brand-new opportunity created in part by RENEW that allows everyday people to invest in Wisconsin’s clean energy economy.

SolarShare WI Cooperative is an innovative cooperative model that helps Wisconsin residents and businesses invest in solar cooperative farms. Working together, our members pool money to invest in solar farms located in Wisconsin, reducing our reliance on imported fossil fuels and strengthening our economy with stable, affordable, renewable energy for our local utilities.  

How does SolarShare WI Cooperative Work?


 

SolarShare WI Cooperative works with Wisconsin-based member contractors to finance, build, operate and maintain the cooperative solar farms, creating family-supporting jobs in Wisconsin and reducing our reliance on energy from outside the state. Profits from the sale of our clean energy are returned to members as dividends, multiplying the economic benefit of our projects.  

Cooperative action is woven into the fabric of rural Wisconsin and allows small groups of people to achieve great things. Whether pooling dairy or providing electricity, cooperatives play crucial roles in Wisconsin communities. 

Wisconsin imports 14 billion dollars’ worth of non-renewable energy each year. We can keep more of our energy dollars in Wisconsin by working together to invest in local renewable energy.

We plan to build solar farms across the state, partnering with local communities and utilities to provide cost-effective renewable energy while providing financial opportunities to Wisconsin citizens and ratepayers. The investment we make in cooperative solar farms is an investment in our state and, ultimately, our planet.    

Please join us at SolarShare WI Cooperative for more information.

 

RENEW Wisconsin Launches Two Communications Campaigns to Promote the Benefits of Wisconsin Clean Energy Investments

RENEW Wisconsin Launches Two Communications Campaigns to Promote the Benefits of Wisconsin Clean Energy Investments

RENEW Wisconsin has launched two state-wide communications campaigns to promote the benefits of clean energy investments in Wisconsin. The two campaigns, Clean Energy Works for Wisconsin” and “Clean Energy is Made in Wisconsin, include print and digital ads and shareable communications assets for partners and clean energy advocates. 

Wisconsin’s clean energy workforce is 70,000 strong, with good-paying local jobs like installing solar and electric vehicle charging stations, manufacturing energy storage systems, servicing wind turbines, and retrofitting buildings. Clean energy job growth is gaining momentum from state and federal clean energy and electric transportation commitments, federal funds to support these goals, and an increased interest in clean energy investments from the public sector. The “Clean Energy Works for Wisconsin” campaign highlights the job potential of continued investment in electric transportation and Wisconsin clean energy.

“Over the next five years, Wisconsin can expect to receive $79 million in federal funds from the bipartisan infrastructure law,” said Francisco Sayu, Emerging Technologies Director at RENEW Wisconsin. “Wisconsin will also have the opportunity to apply for $2.5 billion in competitive grant funding dedicated to electric vehicle corridors and community charging. Building a network of electric vehicle charging stations will reduce emissions, improve air quality, and create thousands of good-paying jobs and is a tremendous opportunity for Wisconsin residents.” 

In 2019, Governor Evers set a goal that all electricity consumed in the state will be 100% carbon-free by 2050, and in 2022 introduced Wisconsin’s first-ever Clean Energy Plan. Currently, renewable energy only accounts for 13% of all electricity sold in Wisconsin. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, Wisconsin consumes almost six times as much energy as it produces and spends billions on coal, oil, and natural gas every year. The “Clean Energy is Made in Wisconsin” campaign presents a vision of keeping more energy dollars in-state by investing in homegrown renewable energy.

“State and federal investments are moving us toward our clean energy goals, but we need to maximize the benefits of this energy transition for Wisconsin residents,” said Heather Allen, Executive Director at RENEW Wisconsin. “We will need an ‘all of the above’ and ‘all hands on deck’ approach to shape our clean energy future. This means smart investments in homegrown renewable energy and clean transportation.”

Print and digital ads are already circulating in media outlets across the state. To learn more and help amplify Wisconsin’s clean energy opportunities, please visit the “Clean Energy Works for Wisconsin” and “Clean Energy is Made in Wisconsin” landing pages.

Third Annual Earth Day Electric Vehicle Parade to be Hosted by Drive Electric Wisconsin,  RENEW Wisconsin, and Others

Third Annual Earth Day Electric Vehicle Parade to be Hosted by Drive Electric Wisconsin, RENEW Wisconsin, and Others

On Friday, April 22, 2022, Drive Electric Wisconsin, RENEW Wisconsin, Slipstream, Wisconsin Clean Cities and the Dane County Office of Energy and Climate Change will be hosting an Earth Day Electric Vehicle (EV) Parade in Madison.

A variety of electric vehicles will converge at Demetral Park at 1:00 pm. The parade will depart the park at 2 pm, drive through downtown, make two loops around Capitol Square, and return to Demetral Park. Spectators are encouraged to attend at Demetral Park, Capitol Square, or along the parade route. 

All battery electric vehicles (BEVs), plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), electric trucks, and electric motorcycles are welcome to join the parade. For more information and registering for the event, please visit Earth Day EV Parade.

In the Wisconsin transportation sector, GHG emissions are the second-largest source of emissions; EVs currently present the most substantial potential to significantly reduce GHG emissions in the transportation sector, primarily when electricity is generated with low-carbon resources. EVs provide many benefits, including lower maintenance costs, lower fuel costs, zero local emissions, quieter operation, and faster acceleration. As Wisconsin continues to transition to clean energy, the environmental benefits of “driving electric” will continue to increase.

Local residents Carol and Andy Phelps organized Madison’s first Earth Day EV Parade in 2020 as a way to celebrate EVs and Earth Day amid the pandemic. In 2021, more than sixty vehicles joined, RENEW Wisconsin, Slipstream and Dane County Office of Energy and Climate Change for the second Earth Day EV Parade. Many EVs and electric motorcycles are expected at this year’s parade, including Ford, Volkswagen, GM, Tesla, Nissan, Hyundai, Kia, Toyota, Audi, Porsche, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Harley Davidson.