After winning two court victories in the past 12 months, RENEW Wisconsin is seeking another legal triumph. RENEW Wisconsin and The Alliance for Solar Choice (TASC) are teaming up in a legal challenge to a Wisconsin Public Service Commission’s December 2014 decision, which approved a “tax on clean energy” for customers choosing to power their homes and businesses with renewable energy in We Energies territory. RENEW and TASC argue there is insufficient evidence in the record to support the added tax, and are asking the Dane County Circuit Court to reverse the PSC’s decision.

RENEW Wisconsin and TASC filed their legal arguments on Thursday, May 14th. Our press release below highlights our arguments.

To help fund our lawsuit and our continued advocacy work for expanding clean energy in Wisconsin, please visit our website. Donate now, and help us get bigger and stronger to take on We Energies.

Solar Groups Take Next Step in Appeal of Public Service Commission Decision on 2014 We Energies Rate Case

A residential solar installation on the home of
RENEW Wisconsin members Steve and Ellen Terwilliger

MADISON, WI – May 14, 2015 – The Alliance for Solar Choice (TASC) and RENEW Wisconsin today took their next steps in appealing the Wisconsin Public Service Commission’s December 2014 decision to add a discriminatory fee on distributed generation customers in We Energies’ territory.

The groups filed the first set of briefs Thursday, which outlined their arguments in the case. TASC and RENEW Wisconsin explain in the briefs how the record does not contain the necessary evidence to support the Commission’s approval of the additional charge on customer generation (like solar energy).

“The Court must reverse when the Commission’s action depends on any finding of fact that is not supported by substantial evidence in the record,” said Amy Heart, spokesperson for The Alliance for Solar Choice. “Here, the Commission’s own expert witness testified that there was not enough evidence on the record to approve the discriminatory solar charges.”

In fact, Heart pointed out that We Energies’ own study of the costs and benefits of solar in their service territory found that these customers provide a net benefit to all ratepayers. “Unfortunately, the Commission, knowing the benefits, still approved fees for these self-generating customer, which was legally improper,” said Heart.

This is the third case in the past three years seeking judicial review of a decision of the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin that discriminates against owners of small distributed renewable energy generating systems.  In the previous two cases, the Dane County Circuit Court also remanded all or part of the new rates as lacking a factual basis in the administrative record. 

“It is important that we promote and defend Wisconsin renewable energy in all decision-making venues, and in this case that means the courts,” said Tyler Huebner, RENEW Wisconsin’s Executive Director. “A customer’s own investment in solar and other clean energy technologies benefit everyone, and impartial analysis in multiple states proves that. Beyond that, from a public policy perspective, there is significant job creation and economic gains for Wisconsin on the horizon if we can get these policies right.”

The We Energies rate case in fall 2014 sparked unprecedented public opposition and national attention for the three-member Commission, with over 500 Wisconsin residents in attendance at a public hearing in October. Along with the discriminatory rate changes, both groups protested Commissioner Ellen Nowak’s lack of impartiality during the proceeding.

About The Alliance for Solar Choice: The Alliance for Solar Choice (TASC) leads the rooftop solar advocacy across the country. Founded by the largest rooftop companies in the nation, TASC represents the vast majority of the distributed solar market.

About RENEW Wisconsin: RENEW Wisconsin leads and accelerates the transition to Wisconsin’s renewable energy future through advocacy, education, and collaboration. RENEW represents over 50 Wisconsin businesses in the renewable energy industry and hundreds of customers who have installed their own renewable energy systems.

More information:

Kelly Trombley, Associate
The Alliance for Solar Choice

Tyler Huebner
RENEW Wisconsin