Milwaukee, WI – More than thirty Milwaukee households will see their energy bills go down this winter, thanks to sustainable solar installations on their homes.
Habitat for Humanity chapters throughout Wisconsin and the Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA) have partnered on the Grow Solar for Humanity initiative, created to bring solar to households that will significantly benefit from reduced utility bills. The program, coordinated by the MREA, implements affordable renewable energy on homes built by Habitat for Humanity within the last year. Thirty-five of the forty-nine Wisconsin Habitat for Humanity homes receiving solar are in the city of Milwaukee, spanning the Harambee and Midtown neighborhoods.
Chris Garrison, Construction Director of Milwaukee Habitat for Humanity explains that the organization works to help families achieve financial stability through affordable homeownership. “By reducing energy costs, this project will bring long-term savings for these families, while increasing the value of their homes.”
Focus on Energy funds the solar portion of these homes. For more than 20 years, Focus on Energy and Wisconsin’s electric and natural gas utilities have partnered to help residential and business customers across the state make cost-effective energy efficiency and renewable energy upgrades. “Habitat for Humanity is committed to helping Wisconsinites live in comfortable and affordable homes”, Focus on Energy Program Manager Scott Bloedorn says. “Building energy efficient homes is the most cost-effective way to control energy bills. By adding solar, Habitat for Humanity helps reduce energy costs even further.”
Since 2011, Focus on Energy has delivered more than $1 billion worth of economic benefits to Wisconsin. For every $1 spent, Focus on Energy returns more than $4 to Wisconsin’s economy in the form of energy savings, jobs, and environmental impacts.
Solar installations began in November and will be completed early next year. The project was awarded to Arch Solar, a local Wisconsin solar company, through a competitive bid process. Arch has previously worked with the City of Milwaukee and the City of Madison on yearly group buys to encourage people to install solar in their neighborhoods. As a multi-generational family-owned company, Arch’s vision is affordable renewable energy across the state.
“For Arch, these installations are exciting because they bring the financial and environmental value of solar power to communities who have not had much, if any, access to solar power in the past. The electricity from solar panels provides financial stability by both avoiding rising utility costs and significantly reducing energy bills, all by powering their home with a clean, sustainable energy source”’ says Dexter Peirce, an Energy Consultant at Arch Solar.
The Grow Solar for Humanity program is offered on behalf of the following Habitat for Humanity affiliates: Chippewa Valley, Door County, Fox Cities, Lakeside, Dane County, Kenosha, Washington and Dodge Counties, Wisconsin River, Milwaukee, and St. Croix Valley. When all the Habitat for Humanity solar projects are finished, roughly 414kW of solar will be installed, collectively reducing energy bills for these families by at least $50,323 in just the first year of commissioning.