MADISON– Senator Robert Cowles (R-Green Bay) released the following statement after submitting comments to the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSC) in-support of action on the Petition for Declaratory Ruling to determine the legality of third-party financing arrangements for distributed energy resource systems:
“Wisconsin’s failure to address the legality of third-party financing of distributed energy resources over the past decade has been disheartening. It’s long past time we recognize that a financing arrangement for a homeowner, church, farm or small business does not infringe on the regulated monopoly utility model in Wisconsin. You can finance anything from a new water heater to energy efficient windows to help reduce your energy consumption, and there’s no reason you shouldn’t be able to do the same to generate your own electricity.
“I want to thank Vote Solar for submitting the petition and all those who have been engaged in advocating for allowing third-party financing in Wisconsin, including the groups which supported the bill I authored earlier this session. I encourage the PSC to act within their broadly endowed powers and legalize the third-party financing of distributed energy resources without delay.”
Third-party financing agreements come in different forms, but the underlying goal of these arrangements is to allow a property owner – including homeowners, business owners, religious institution leaders, local units of government, and nonprofit leaders – to have the upfront cost of a distributed energy resource such as rooftop solar panels covered by a third-party and paid-off overtime. Nearly every state has third-party financing arrangements for distributed energy resources happening currently, including at least seven other states which have had their energy regulatory bodies similar to the PSC authorize third-party financing. All of Wisconsin’s neighboring states (Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, and Minnesota) authorize a form of third-party financing arrangements.
Senator Cowles’ letter of support is attached to the distribution of this release and may also be found on his website. Information on 2021 Senate Bill 702, authored by Senator Cowles, to begin the conversation on third-party financing is available on the Legislature’s website. A copy of the Verified Petition for a Declaratory Ruling of Vote Solar and exhibits for Docket 9300-DR-106 are available on the PSC’s webpage. Vote Solar’s press release on the filing of this petition may be found on their website. Vote Solar notes that the PSC has twenty-days as of the submission of the petition on May 26th before deciding whether to act or reject the request.