December 24, 2020 at 6:04 am

Customers of Wisconsin’s second-largest utility can now invest in solar energy without having to install any panels

By Sandesh Ilhe

Customers of Wisconsin’s second-largest utility can now invest in solar energy without having to install any panels.

Alliant Energy announced Tuesday it is offering shares in its first community solar garden, a 1-megawatt project to be built next year near Fond du Lac.

Customers throughout Alliant’s Wisconsin territory can purchase shares in the project for $1,500 per kilowatt — available in 250-watt blocks for up to 100% of their annual use. In return, residential customers will receive bill credits of 6.3 cents per kilowatt-hour for the energy generated, which is fed into the electric grid. (Commercial customers are credited 5.6 cents per kilowatt-hour.)

Regular retail rates — about 11.7 cents per kilowatt-hour for residential customers — still apply to the energy customers’ use.

Alliant anticipates it will take about 14 to 16 years to recover the initial investment, which means customers could expect a 30% to 40% return over the 20-year contract.

Ben Lipari, director of resource development, said the project is part of Alliant’s transition away from fossil fuels and also a response to customer demands.
“It’s aligning with our broader strategy as well as what they’re asking for,” Lipari said. “The key is they have an alternative.”
Alliant plans to begin construction this spring along Highway 151 just west of Hickory Road and have the project up and running by the end of next year. Alliant is leasing the land from Michels Corp., a utility contractor headquartered in Brownsville, which will also host a 250-kilowatt utility-owned solar project that’s part of another new solar initiative.


Sandesh Ilhe

With an Engineers degree in Advanced Database Management and Information Security, Sandesh brings the deep understanding of the digital world to the table. His articles reflect the challenges and the complexities that come along with every disruption in the industry. He carries over six years of experience on working with websites and ensuring that the right article reaches the right reader.

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