Welcome to Milwaukee Shines! 

Milwaukee Shines, the City of Milwaukee's solar program, works to expand solar energy use through a comprehensive, citywide approach. Milwaukee Shines helps create cleaner air for our community and helps reduce energy costs for the City and the community at large. Milwaukee Shines is a project of the Environmental Collaboration Office (ECO), formerly the Office of Environmental Sustainability, and partners with community partners to build a clean energy future. Past projects have been funded through the US Department of Energy Solar America Communities and SunShot programs.

When Milwaukee Shines formed in 2008, the City of Milwaukee was named one of 25 Solar America Cities by the U.S. Department of Energy, and earned the distinction again in 2009. Since then, Milwaukee has streamlined the permitting process, created a solar zoning ordinance, reduced solar permit fees, and began providing financing resources for home and business owners.

As of January 2021, there are more than 8.27 MW (compared to 4.5 MW by January 2020) of solar energy installed on Milwaukee homes and businesses -- which has exceeded the City's goal of 1 MW of solar capacity.

Please contact us at solar@milwaukee.gov to learn more about having solar installed in your home or business, or to find out more about replicating Milwaukee Shines' processes and projects in your municipality.

Photo of a City of Milwaukee Solar Array

Milwaukee Shines, Eco City of Milwaukee        ECO Environmental Collaboration Office ecoCity of Milwaukee

Solar America Cities     SunShot U.S. Department of Energy    

Milwaukee is a SolSmart City!

Solsmart WebsiteSolSmart, a program funded by the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative, awarded a Gold designation to recognize Milwaukee as a national leader in advancing solar energy.

As a SolSmart Gold designee, Milwaukee received national recognition for adopting programs and practices that make it faster, easier, and cheaper to go solar. A SolSmart designation is a signal that Milwaukee “open for solar business,” helping to attract solar industry investment and generate economic development and local jobs.

To achieve designation, Milwaukee took steps to reduce solar “soft costs,” which are non-hardware costs that can increase the time and money it takes to install a solar energy system. Examples of soft costs include planning and zoning; permitting; financing; customer acquisition; and installation labor. Soft costs now represent roughly two-thirds of the total price of an installed residential system. Reducing these costs leads to savings that are passed on to consumers.

Photo of SolSmart AwardWe are committed to reducing solar energy costs at the local level and encouraging even more homes and businesses to use this clean, affordable energy source!

Pictured here: City of Milwaukee Sustainability Director, Erick Shambarger, Mayor Tom Barrett, Suzanne Hanson from the City's Permit Office, Elizabeth Hittman from Milwaukee Shines & Department of Neighborhood Services Commissioner Preston Cole accept the SolSmart Gold Award. Milwaukee was one of the first 13 cities in the U.S. to receive the Gold designation. Being a solar-friendly City is a team effort between the Mayor's office, the Environmental Collaboration Office, and our permitting and inspection staff!



What's New at Milwaukee Shines:

Resources for Solar Professionals

Follow this link to the page with resources for solar professionals. You can find information on solar zoning in the City of Milwaukee, a checklist of what to submit for a solar permit as well as links for scheduling inspections and interconnection.  We are also pleased to annouced new, lower solar permit fees! We are working hard to make installing solar in the City of Milwaukee easier and more affordable. 


Milwaukee Solar Group Buy Program

Milwaukee Shines Solar Group Buy
In 2021 Milwaukee Shines partnered with the renewable energy non-profit the Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA) to coordinate neighborhood group buys in the Greater Milwaukee region and it was our most successful program to date! The advantage of a group buy is the power of volume purchasing, which can significantly reduce the upfront costs of installing solar in your home or business.

Please visit the Milwaukee Solar Group Buy page for more info!

View Milwaukee Shines Solar Financing page

Milwaukee Shines Financing Low-Interest Solar Loan

Milwaukee Shines has partnered with Summit Credit Union to offer up low-interest solar loans for Milwaukee homeowners!

This financing can help make solar a reality! For more information on the Milwaukee Shines solar loan as well as a step-by-step guide on how to apply for this loan, please visit the Milwaukee Shines Solar Financing page.


View Solar in Milwaukee pageSolar in Milwaukee

To date, the City has invested in 12 renewable energy projects, including solar electric, solar hot water, and a wind turbine. Milwaukee Shines has also partnered on a number of community projects including the solar flower in Milwaukee's Garden District, and we hosted a Solar School Swap.  We're looking forward to seeing more solar projects in Milwaukee!

For more information on the City's solar installations and commuinty projects, please visit the Solar In Milwaukee page of our website.


Milwaukee Solar Related News

Milwaukee Shines, Eco City of Milwaukee Logos

 Elizabeth Hittman


 City Hall, 200 E. Wells Street, Room 603, Milwaukee, WI 53202 

 Monday - Friday, 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Solar Information & Resources

Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA) - Education
We Energies - Information
U.S Department of Energy - Renewable energy technology
NABCEP (North American Board of Certified Energy Pracitioners) - "Gold Standard" for renewable energy certification

Site Assessments
NABCEP List of Certified Solar Professionals

Milwaukee Shines Solar Electric Permitting Process Guide
City of Milwaukee Permit Page

Milwaukee Shines Solar Financing with Summit Credit Union
Me2 Commercial PACE Financing

Focus on Energy - list of installers
NABCEP (North American Board of Certified Energy Pracitioners) - "Gold Standard" for renewable energy certification

Focus on Energy - Incentives
DSIREUSA (Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency) - List of incentives

We Energies - Interconnection information

Rise Up Midwest
We are a proud supporter of the Rise Up Midwest Initiative, working to make the Midwest a global leader in clean energy.

Visit the Rise Up Midwest website for more info and to listen to the podcasts.

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