From a blog post by Tom Content on JSonline:

Milwaukee will receive $650,000 and Madison will receive $370,000 from the federal stimulus package to advance their programs to develop solar energy. Milwaukee established the Milwaukee Shines program several years ago after it won funding for

The city will use the grant to establish a Solar Hot Water Business Council, with an eye toward linking its own solar initiative with the work of the Milwaukee 7 Water Council.

The Milwaukee Shines’ goal is to increase the number of solar installers and install more than 100 solar-electric and 50 solar thermal systems by 2012.

“What’s going to happen is we are going to be able to use less energy, at a time that that’s very, very important,” said Barrett during a news conference at the Milwaukee Public Library. The central library building is incorporating solar into a green roof that is now under construction.

The aim of the council is educate and enable local water technology manufacturers to shift into the growing solar industry, leading to the creation of a solar manufacturing cluster in the region.

Milwaukee Shines is particularly interested in helping manufacturers re-tool their facilities to start producing solar energy components, said Erick Shambarger of the city’s Office of Environmental Sustainability. “We believe this could become a niche market for Milwaukee.”

The proposed business council helped set Milwaukee’s application apart from others received by the Department of Energy. DOE received applications for funding from 25 different cities but granted funding to 16 cities, said Steve Palmeri, project officer with the U.D. Department of Energy in Golden, Colo.