Solar for Good Grows by Leaps and Bounds

Solar for Good Grows by Leaps and Bounds

This week, RENEW wrapped up our third round of Solar for Good funding. We are happy to announce that this will be our most successful funding cycle to date!

RENEW received applications from 39 nonprofits and we plan on funding as many as 36 projects. Altogether, these grants will result in as much as $4.5 million in new solar investment, totaling 2.13 MEGAWATTS of clean, renewable, solar power.

This round of funding also featured our most diverse group of applicants to date. We approved solar grants for organizations ranging from K-12 schools to low-income housing to animal shelters. Proposals came in from across the state, from Washburn to Milwaukee, Dodgeville to Green Bay, and nearly everywhere in between.

Some of the nonprofits who will receive grants upon successfully completing their solar projects include:

  • Beloit College plans on converting a former coal-fired power plant into a carbon-neutral student activity center, complete with solar panels and geothermal heating
  • The Sisters of St. Francis in Green Bay will be adding an additional 98 kilowatts of solar power to the existing array at their motherhouse 
  • Sawyer County Housing Authority will install solar arrays on 6 multi-family, low-income housing facilities, which will directly offset their residents’ utility bills

This fall 2018 round builds on the Solar for Good success from prior rounds in the fall of 2017 and spring of 2018. During the first and second funding rounds, RENEW issued over $200,000 in grants, helping 23 Wisconsin-based nonprofits invest over $1,677,000 in new solar projects. These projects totaled 730 kilowatts…enough to power approximately 150 homes.

RENEW would like to extend our gratitude to Cal and Laurie Couillard, founders of the Couillard Foundation which funds Solar for Good. Their generosity and devotion to renewable energy has spearheaded the opportunity to expand solar in tremendous ways. Through Solar for Good, solar power in Wisconsin is developing incredible momentum that we plan on build on in the coming years.

 

Milwaukee “Ride with RENEW”:  Sun, Fun, and Clean Energy

Milwaukee “Ride with RENEW”: Sun, Fun, and Clean Energy


On Saturday, September 29th, fifty bike riders enjoyed our sixth annual “Ride with RENEW” bicycle tour!  This year’s tour was in Milwaukee and we saw solar, wind, and biogas renewable technologies up close.

The day started off cool, but as the sun rose the temps came along with it.  Ingeteam hosted our morning breakfast and registration, and we learned about their factory and US headquarters which builds wind generators and supports solar and wind projects nationwide.

Next we visited the City of Milwaukee’s Public Library, where the City’s Elizabeth Hittman regaled our crowd with the City’s plans to install 1.1 megawatt of solar across six City buildings.  The Library will get a 121 kilowatt solar PV system as part of this project.

A block away, we visited the largest vertical solar PV wall in the U.S. according to project developer Convergence Energy The project is at the Milwaukee Public Museum, and Director Ellen Censky motivated our crowd with her story of getting sustainability done!

Next, we rode trails north to Shorewood where we saw solar on homes from a recent solar group buy through the City’s Milwaukee Shines Programand the Midwest Renewable Energy Association.

Then we headed to the lake, where we ate lunch at the Discovery World which includes geothermal heating and cooling, which ride sponsor HGA Architects helped integrate into the building.

Have you ever had solar-powered pizza delivered by an electric car?  We did! Our lunch was delicious and provided by Bounce Milwaukee. Bounce uses solar electricity to power solar ovens that cook pizzas, which are then delivered by electric cars.  Ice cream was also provided by Cedar Crest Ice Cream.

After lunch, we visited the Port of Milwaukee’s wind turbine which is close to producing 1 million kilowatt-hours of electricity and is coming up on six years of operation.

Then, two non-profit organizations showed how broadly solar has grown.  Mike Cornell of Arch Electric showed off their project at the School Sisters of St. Francis, which we believe is the largest solar project for a religious order in Wisconsin.  The solar panels at this project are made in Jackson, Mississippi, by Seraphim.

Escuela Verde was our second-to-last stop, where Catie Malcheski of Sunvest described the school’s vision and actions to get solar.  The panels had been donated by Helios when it was making panels in Milwaukee a few years ago, but the school needed to raise the money to complete the installation.  RENEW’s Solar for Good program was a key contributor to making the project happen!

Our last stop was at the Forest County Potawatomi Community’s Biodigester, which is located next to the casino.  The Biodigester takes food waste from the casino and other locations and turns it into biogas, which is then used to create electricity.  Waste heat is also piped to the casino in the winter.  Charlie Opferman of the Potawatomi Community told us how the biodigester is basically a big stomach in action.

We finished up by having a beer and snacks at City Lights Brewing Company.

We also once again enjoyed excellent financial support from our sponsors, RENEW Wisconsin members, and friends and family of our bike riders who donated to support the riders.  John & Mary Frantz offered to match up to $15,000 in donations towards our ride, and we exceeded our goal again!   All event proceeds will support RENEW Wisconsin’s ongoing work to advance renewable energy in Wisconsin.

Thank you once again to all of our riders, sponsors, and supporters!

 

RIDE SPONSORS

RIDE SUPPORTERS

‘Solar for Good’ Grant Program Opens for Fall 2018

‘Solar for Good’ Grant Program Opens for Fall 2018

More Solar Energy for Wisconsin Nonprofits

RENEW Wisconsin’s Solar for Good program today opened its third application process with approximately $100,000 in grants available for mission-driven nonprofit organizations across Wisconsin seeking to install solar power.

The grants assist nonprofits in funding the cost of a clean, renewable solar power project.  Smaller grants can also provide technical assistance, including professional solar site assessments and engineering services, needed to get solar projects off the ground.

Solar power is very popular with mission-driven nonprofits because it aligns with their goals to improve people’s well-being and create a better future. The projects also help nonprofits save money on energy costs.

Through the first two rounds of this Solar for Good, successful solar projects have been supported for organizations of faith, those serving human needs, groups protecting special places, and more.  The first two rounds occurred in Fall 2017 and Spring 2018, and so far, 25 solar projects have been awarded grants, and 12 projects are already completed.

“We are very pleased to announce our third round of Solar for Good funding to help more Wisconsin nonprofits take advantage of solar energy.  Solar energy is healthy energy for people and for the beautiful Wisconsin landscapes we all enjoy,” said Tyler Huebner, Executive Director of RENEW Wisconsin.

Solar for Good is funded through generous donations from local philanthropists Cal and Laurie Couillard of Deerfield and additional donors.  The program provides up to 20% of the cost of a solar array, with a grant cap of $10,000 for solar arrays sized less than 75 kilowatts and a grant cap of $20,000 for arrays 75 kilowatts and above. Solar for Good has already awarded over $200,000 in grants, resulting in nearly $1.8 million of new solar power projects in Wisconsin.

In return for funding assistance, recipients of the Solar for Good grants help spread the word about their project and educate their communities about solar power’s benefits.

How to Apply

Organizations can learn more and apply at https://www.renewwisconsin.org/solarforgood/.

In order to be eligible, the organization must be a registered nonprofit organization located in Wisconsin, be in good financial standing, be ready to install solar and agree to participate in educating community members about the benefits of solar energy. If approved for a grant, all fundraising, design and installation for the solar project must be completed within 12 months.

Applications are open now for this round of funding and must be received by Tuesday, November 13th 2018 at 5:00pm. Decisions and funding announcements will be made by Monday, November 26th, 2018.

For organizations looking at solar for the first time, technical assistance grants are available to fund a solar site assessment (up to $250) or engineering review (up to $500) for their solar array. These applications will be reviewed separately from the applications for grants for solar installation and will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis.

About RENEW Wisconsin

RENEW Wisconsin is a nonprofit organization which promotes renewable energy in Wisconsin. We work on policies and programs that support solar power, wind power, biogas, local hydropower, and geothermal energy. More information is available on RENEW’s website: www.renewwisconsin.org.

 

Wisconsin Nonprofits Receive Grants Toward  $1.2 million in New Solar Energy Projects

Wisconsin Nonprofits Receive Grants Toward $1.2 million in New Solar Energy Projects

RENEW Wisconsin’s Solar for Good program is issuing grants to 15 Wisconsin nonprofit organizations to install new solar electric systems. The grants total over $145,000 and will fund 10% to 20% of each organization’s project. The overall value of these new solar arrays is set to exceed $1.2 million.

Planned for installation over the next twelve months, these projects expect to add over 460 kilowatts (kW) in new solar power. The size of each project will vary based on the needs of the organization.

This is the second round of Solar for Good grants, following Fall 2017’s inaugural opportunity when sixteen organizations were offered grants. The program is primarily funded by solar philanthropists Cal & Laurie Coulliard of Deerfield through their Coulliard Solar Foundation.

“Nonprofit organizations are leaders, gathering places, and signs of hope across our Wisconsin communities.  By helping them produce their own solar energy, we are empowering them to showcase solar energy’s capabilities and continue their leadership role for the people they serve. We are very proud of these nonprofits and can’t wait to see their shining solar projects get completed!” said Tyler Huebner, RENEW Wisconsin’s Executive Director.

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

Alice’s Garden, community and urban farm, Milwaukee
Community Homestead Inc, special needs organization, Osceola
First Unitarian Society of Madison, house of worship, Madison
Heartland Housing Inc., community housing, Milwaukee
Heartland Montessori School, early childhood education, River Falls
Heckrodt Wetland Reserve, outdoor education program, Menasha
Memorial United Church of Christ, house of worship, Fitchburg
Quasimondo Physical Theatre, arts education and training, Milwaukee
St. Bridget Catholic Church, house of worship, River Falls
VFW Post 8483, veterans service organization, Madison
Walnut Way Conservation Corp, environmental conservation organization, Milwaukee
Worldbuilders Inc., humanitarian organization, Stevens Point

Two organizations have asked to remain anonymous at this time.

Solar for Good plans to issue another round of grant funding in fall 2018. Individuals who want to learn more about the program can visit our website.

About RENEW Wisconsin

RENEW Wisconsin is a nonprofit organization which promotes renewable energy in Wisconsin. We work on policies and programs that support solar power, wind power, biogas, local hydropower, and geothermal energy. More information is available on RENEW’s website.