RENEW Wisconsin remains focused on net metering and the two rate cases before the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSCW). The comment periods for both cases have closed and we can expect a decision from the PSCW in early November. In the meantime, we are continuing our work to support EV charging infrastructure while also pursuing bills that would allow Wisconsin residents to participate in community solar projects.
In most states, when you generate electricity from solar panels on your property, you get a credit for the energy you produce, reducing your electricity purchases from the utility and some compensation for sending any excess electricity from your system back to the grid. The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSCW) is nearing a decision in two net metering rate cases.
In the Alliant Energy rate case, RENEW and Alliant have agreed to preserve net metering for two years and have created a clear pathway for future rooftop solar installations. At the end of the two-year period, new Alliant solar customers will shift away from net metering and into Power Partnership, a proposal that will support the sustainability of the solar industry. The PSCW will determine if this agreement is the best path forward when they deliver their decision in November.
RENEW still believes that net metering is the best policy for Wisconsin’s current solar industry, and we remain opposed to MGE’s proposal. We look forward to a positive outcome in both cases.
- RENEW staff has testified in both rate cases before the PSCW.
- RENEW has encouraged and empowered our members and the public to support net metering through the public comments process.
- RENEW staff is engaged with state legislators, making them aware of how these rate cases will affect their constituents and the solar industry in general.
Electric Vehicle Charging
Better access to charging stations to support the electric vehicle industry is a top priority for RENEW. We continue to support efforts to remove some of the barriers in Wisconsin. Current state law limits private companies’ ability to build charging stations by only allowing electric utilities to sell electricity to the public.
- RENEW anticipates legislation (likely led by Sen. Howard Marklein) to be introduced this fall to remove some of these barriers.
- RENEW is hoping the proposed legislation would allow non-utilities to provide electricity at charging stations by using the national standard of charging by the kilowatt hour rather than by the time it takes to charge.
- RENEW staff have been in regular communication with various interested parties and we hope to see movement on this proposal soon.
- To support these efforts, we also have preliminary plans to host educational, lobbying, and test-driving electric vehicle events through the fall.
Wisconsin state law limits solar installations to larger utility-built projects and smaller rooftop installations on individual homes or businesses. This leaves a gap in the options available for some Wisconsinites. Allowing community-based projects for individuals to participate in solar energy generation even if they do not own the building or have adequate sun exposure would create more equity as it relates to solar generation.
RENEW Wisconsin is part of a coalition of groups that support community solar projects, along with two bills introduced earlier this year that would allow Wisconsin residents to participate in community solar projects. SB 226 was authored by Sen. Duey Stroebel, and AB 258 was authored by Rep. Scott Krug.
- RENEW is encouraging the chairman of the committee, Sen. Julian Bradley, to schedule a hearing in the fall in the Senate Committee on Utilities & Technology.
- More than 30 organizations are listed as lobbyists on the proposal, with an almost equal number for and against.
- Utility groups have strongly opposed the bills.
- Supporters along with RENEW include the Alliance of WI Retailers, NAIOP Commercial Real Estate Association, League of WI Municipalities, WI Property Taxpayer Association, and Fieldworks Power. New supporters continue to join the effort.