Nine contracts have been signed to participate in the proposed Chippewa Valley solar power project, according to Affordable Solar Chippewa Valley (ASCV), the advocacy group for the project.
Some 150 home, business and farm owners have attended one of the nine information sessions that have been held throughout the area since the project was announced nearly three months ago. The most recent session, held last week at the the Chippewa Valley Technical College building in Chippewa Falls, featured a presentation by Brenda Heinen of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), geared to farms and rural businesses.
Heinen provided information on the USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), which makes loans and grants available to farmers who want to implement renewable energy and energy efficiency projects.
Grants can fund up to 25% and loans up to 75% of the solar project costs.
“A couple of local farmers asked us to hold a session geared toward their renewable energy needs. Renewable energy in the large local farm community continues to gain interest and traction as members discover the benefits of solar energy,” according to Ellen Terwilliger of ASCV.
Peter Murphy, solar program manager at Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA) which is partnering with ASCV and Able Energy, said that “while incentives already exist for solar at the state and federal levels,” lower pricing through the Chippewa Valley initiative makes it “smarter than ever to go solar.
The deadline to participate in the Solar Chippewa Valley Group Buy is Dec. 31. Additional questions can be directed to Murphy at firstname.lastname@example.org or by checking www.SolarPowerWisconsin.com.