VEC first Wisconsin utility to construct community-owned solar

2014-03-20T11:16:00Z VEC first Wisconsin utility to construct community-owned solar La Crosse Tribune
March 20, 2014 11:16 am

Vernon Electric Cooperative (VEC) is bringing community-owned solar to Wisconsin. In partnership with national community solar developer Clean Energy Collective (CEC), VEC will provide any member in its service territory the opportunity to own individual panels in a new locally-sited, utility-scale solar PV array. This is the first community-owned solar facility under construction in the state of Wisconsin.

The Vernon Electric Community Solar Farm, a 305 kW, 1001-panel clean power facility will be built at VEC’s headquarters in Westby. Through CEC’s model, any member of VEC can purchase panels from the shared farm — as few as one or enough to completely offset the energy demands of a home or business. Credit for the power produced will be provided directly on their monthly utility bills.

“We are excited to begin construction of the first community-owned solar program in the state of Wisconsin,” said Vernon Electric’s CEO Joe McDonald. “We know this will be a valuable local energy solution for our members.”

VEC, in partnership with CEC, anticipates breaking ground in April and the solar farm is expected to be operational by early summer. Given the significant interest already seen from the community, it is possible that the array will sell out before construction is complete, as has been the case in several other states.

“CEC is privileged to be Vernon Electric’s partner for this project, and we’re enthusiastic about helping solar grow in Wisconsin in a way that makes sense to members and the cooperative,” said Paul Spencer, CEC’s founder and president.

Sign up began at VEC’s annual meeting March 22.

Copyright 2015 La Crosse Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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