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Wisconsin Republicans working on community solar-enabling legislation

Written by: Leonard Parker | Solar News | 16th July

This week, Wisconsin State Senator Duey Stroebel (R-Saukville) and Representative Timothy Ramthun (R-Campbellsport) indicated their plans to introduce community solar bills later this month.

The bills — for which they are recruiting co-sponsors — would remove existing policy restrictions to allow for the development of small-scale community solar projects that would enable greater access to solar, lower utility bills, and create jobs and economic development across the state. Under the legislation, residents and businesses could subscribe to a portion of a community solar project and receive credit on their electricity bill for the power produced, just as if the panels were on their own roof.

When passed, community solar would work alongside all existing forms of energy generation and utilize private capital to improve grid resilience and reduce costs for all ratepayers. It also has the potential to create thousands of jobs, spur hundreds of millions of dollars in economic development in rural and urban counties, provide farmers an additional income stream, save customers millions of dollars on their utility bills and generate local tax revenues across the state.

“Our legislation provides Wisconsin customers with the opportunity to save money and harness locally produced renewable energy,” said Senator Stroebel and Representative Ramthun in a memo circulated to legislators. “Community solar will increase energy options for residents and small businesses, spur economic growth across Wisconsin, bring more renewable energy to our state and create consumer choice that will lead to bill savings for Wisconsin taxpayers.”

Coalition for Community Solar Access (CCSA), a national Coalition of businesses and non-profits working to expand customer choice and access to solar to all American households and businesses through community solar, endorsed the Republican-sponsored legislation.

“Community solar will drive clean energy development, more customer options, bill savings, and a new homegrown industry within the state of Wisconsin,” said Jim Murray, Midwest Regional Director for CCSA. “We applaud state conservatives for pursing common sense energy legislation that harnesses private investment to modernize the state’s grid, lowers grid costs for all ratepayers, and revitalizes the economy all without raising taxes. We look forward to working with legislators to get this critical piece of legislation over the finish line this fall.”

There are 21 states + Washington DC that have established community solar programs, including multiple states in the Midwest like Illinois, Minnesota, Colorado, with Michigan considering legislation.

News item from CCSA