Workers Installing Solar Panels on a Roof

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Resources for Solar Professionals

Milwaukee Shines is working to make it easier for solar professionals to install renewable energy systems here in Milwaukee by streamlining the commercial permit process. The resources below will help you with your projects:

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  Financing

The Milwaukee Shines Solar Loan program, a partnership between Milwaukee Shines and Summit Credit Union, offers low-interest solar loans to homeowners in the City of Milwaukee. Business owners may also be eligible for Milwaukee's commercial PACE financing.

  Incentives

There may be incentives available at the local, state, and federal levels for solar energy. More information about current incentives is available at Focus on Energy and at DSIREUSA.

  Training

North American Board of Certified Energy Professionals (NABCEP) is a national certification that requires coursework through accredited training programs, designing and installing a specified number of solar projects, and passing a professional technical exam.

Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA) is a Wisconsin non-profit that provides training and resources for solar professionals. Courses are designed to satisfy the knowledge and skill competencies for professional credentialing.

Solar Energy International is a Colorado non-profit that offers a number of online training resources for solar installers, inspectors and other solar professionals. Classes are also offered in Spanish. 

Madison Area Technical College (MATC) has a Renewable Energy Certificate provides students with theoretical knowledge necessary for a career in energy management and renewable energy technology. A minimum of 12 credits of coursework are required, and students may choose from online or in-class courses in either solar electric (PV) or solar hot water.

  Resources

Grow Solar: A Midwest Partnership to Move Markets is a collaborative effort to make solar a cost competitive energy source. It provides resources for municipalities, industry professionals and homeowners.

PVWatts (sponsored by National Renewable Energy Laboratory) provides calculators to allow users to determine their energy production and cost-savings of grid-connected solar electric (PV) systems. There are two options for users: 1) Site-Specific Data that offers individual data for specific locations and 2) Grid Data allows users to create estimate performance data for any location in the United States and surrounding territories.

Department of Energy provides energy analysis tools and information about renewable energy.

DSIREUSA (Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency) is a helpful resource for incentives by state.

  Zoning

The City of Milwaukee passed its first solar zoning ordinance in 2012. The ordinance was drafted and passed on the existing Wisconsin State Statute 66.0401 that limits the authority to restrict a homeowner or business owner's right to install solar.

  Permits & Inspections

All solar installations in the City of Milwaukee must have a permit.

Certain residential projects may meet the requirements for an expedited residental solar permit, which combines the electrical and building permits.

All City permits are now online. To begin your online permit, please visit the Permitting page on the City's Development Center website. Specific questions concerning permits and/or inspections can be directed to the Department of Neighborhood Services at 414-286-8210.

►For more information and a checklist of what is needed for solar permits in Milwaukee, please visit the Milwaukee Shines Permitting page.

 

  Interconnection

Connecting the solar energy system to We Energies' distribution system is called interconnection. It is the step that allows access to the energy grid for using electricity when the solar system is not producing enough to meet current needs or to provide excess electricty generated by the system to be returned to the grid for use by the utility.

The We Energies website provides information about the interconnection process and requirements, as well as links to the Wisconsin Public Service Commission's Interconnection Agreement. You can also contact Jason Kollwelter at We Energies for information at 800-714-7700 ext. 7700.

The interconnection process is outlined below:

  1. Apply online or via mail for interconnection to the We Energies distribution system.
  2. There may be fees applicable, which would be based on the capacity of the system being installed.
  3. The application, which MUST include a site plan and one-line diagram is submitted to the We Energies Service Consultant (ESC).
  4. We Energies has up to 10 days to review the application for completeness.
  5. An engineering review may be necessary (typically for larger systems). If so, the applicant will be notified and payment of applicable fees is required.
  6. The application will be approved when the ESC is assured that the application, site plan, and diagrams are properly completed and meet We Energies' technical requirements, and all required fees have been paid.
  7. The approved electrical and building permits must be sent to We Energies. Once they have been received, the system's commissioning testing can take place.
  8. The meter is installed to monitor the system.
  9. The Installer can now schedule the We Energies inspection and commission testing. These can typically take place in one visit.
  10. Once the inspection and commission testing have been passed, the interconnection agreement is signed. This typically occurs the same day as commissioning.

 

Questions? Contact solar@milwaukee.gov.

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