Solar Landing Page
This website represents a collection of solar resources for the community. The city has roughly 1.1 MW of existing photovoltaics (PV) solar and that capacity is expected to double in 2017. The City is seeking (Solsmart) designation for solar friendly community gold status in early 2017. The City's goals can be found on its Solar Statement. In several places below, a Solar Brochure has been referenced. This lists helpful resources all in one place.
Solar energy uses a renewable energy source – the sun – and provides many benefits for individuals and the community. It improves environmental quality by reducing carbon emissions and air pollution, supports about 2,000 jobs and over 166 companies in Wisconsin (SEIA), saves money on energy costs as the price continues to drop from increasing demand and technological developments, and adds electric grid resilience during peak demand and other stresses to the system.
Ordinance, Permitting & Process
Please see the above brochure for more information. The following table may be helpful to guide applicants for solar installations. Small solar PV projects have a turnaround time generally of less than 3 business days.
- Process of installing solar with City Inspections
- Installer takes completed system plans (site plan, spec. sheets, line diagram, building plans) to Inspections during inspector office hours and has plans reviewed by electrical and building inspectors. This includes appropriate electrical, building and plumbing permits depending on the project type.
- Appropriate permit fees are paid.
- Permit is issued.
- Upon completion of system appointment is made with electrical and building inspectors for final inspection and closing of permits. Interim inspections may be needed depending again on project type.
- Installer obtains and fills in Distributed Generation Agreement form from utility with either Xcel Energy or Eau Claire Energy Cooperative. Hard copy of completed form and required documents are submitted to the Inspections office.
- Utility is contacted for utility inspection of completed array. Utility sends copy of Distributed Generation Agreement to City.
- To lower soft costs, it behooves the applicant to make sure their contractor upfront knows to minimize the number of site visits for various inspections. For example, coordinating the final inspection and the interconnection on the same day or appointment time can reduce trips for the installer and thereby reduce project overall costs.
Find a Contractor
Find a solar contractor (or two) to assess your home for solar energy and provide a bid. Certified practitioners can be found through NABCEP. The Solar Energy Industries Association's site also provides a map of area contractors. The following is a non-exhaustive list of contractors who have done business in the community. Please contact the City if your firm would like to be listed.
- Able Energy
- Alternative Trends
- Badger State Inc.
- Carr Creek Electric Service
- Chippewa Valley Alternative Energy
- H & H Solar
- Legacy Solar
- Next Energy Solutions
- Next Step Energy
- North Wind Renewable Energy
- Sun Vest
- Water Source Heating & Cooling
Financing, Incentives & Tax Exemptions
Typically solar is paid for through loans or cash with incentives that are available. See the brochure and Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) for more information.
Solar Rights & Procedure
Read the State Statute about your solar rights. Onus is on property owner/applicant. Approved permit represents notice.
Historic Properties/Districts Guidance
If a property is landmarked or within a historic district, contact the City at 715-839-4914 for advice. Generally speaking, projects on buildings should not be visible from the street but there are examples such as solar shingles that may keep with the architectural style of the structure. Use guidance that can be found here- see specifically pages 14-15.
- Chippewa Valley Affordable Solar Group Buy
- Xcel Energy – community solar
- Eau Claire Energy Cooperative – community solar
- CVTC Energy Education Center