Madison – A legislative effort to greatly expand access to solar-generated power for Wisconsin’s homes and businesses was bolstered this week when Kohler Co. announced its support for legislation that will allow the private development of community solar facilities.

Senate Bill 490 was introduced by Senator Duey Stroebel (R-Saukville) and is being backed by the Wisconsin Community Solar Economic Alliance. The newly formed group of Wisconsin businesses and organizations from across the state believe community solar can give consumers and businesses more energy choice, lower energy bills for customers and all ratepayers, create a more resilient grid and good-paying jobs, and increase private investment in local communities.

“We are very excited that a Wisconsin-based company so synonymous with innovative business practices and environmental policies has joined this ever-expanding coalition in support of this legislation,” said Scott Coenen, Executive Director of the Wisconsin Conservative Energy Forum, and spokesperson for the Economic Alliance. “This legislation expands a key market for solar-generated electricity which can lower prices for consumers and all ratepayers. Homeowners, Wisconsin businesses, schools, and family farms will all positively benefit from expanding community solar in Wisconsin.’’

Community solar is a small solar array located within a community where multiple customers can subscribe and receive a credit on their utility bill for their share of the power that is produced, just as if the panels were on their own roof.

More than 50 percent of American households do not have access to solar power because they either rent, live in a multi-tenant building, have roofs unable to host a solar system, or live in a service territory of a utility that will not allow it. Through community solar, people could be connected to a local solar installation who would provide subscribers with equal access to the economic and environmental benefits of solar generation.

Kohler Co. joins a growing group of businesses, associations, and organizations in support of the legislation. Additional supporters include Wisconsin REALTORS Association, NAIOP Wisconsin, Associated Builders and Contractors of Wisconsin, Wisconsin Conservative Energy Forum, Wisconsin Grocers Association, Aurora Health Care, Organic Valley Dairy Cooperative in La Farge (owned by 1,800 dairy farmers), Land and Liberty Coalition of Wisconsin, RENEW Wisconsin, Coalition for Community Solar Access, City of Milwaukee, and the Nature Conservancy.

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