By Dan Haugen
Can a Wisconsin city buy solar power from someone other than its electric utility? A Madison suburb may soon find out the answer.
The Monona City Council discussed Monday what could be a first-of-its-kind solar project in Wisconsin.
A private company would install solar arrays on four municipal buildings at no upfront cost to the city. The installer would then own and maintain the systems over the life of a contract and sell the renewable energy credits they earn to the city of Monona.
“The city has committed to being an energy-independent community and increasing our use of renewables,” Monona project manager Janine Glaeser said, “and this looks like a good way to do that without the upfront capital costs.”
One possible hitch: Wisconsin law is unclear about whether so called “third-party-owned” solar systems, in which neither the customer nor their utility owns the panels, are legal in the state.