Focus funds going fast
Focus on Energy Funds Going Fast
Changing times and attitudes create higher demand for popular Wisconsin renewable
energy incentive program.
State incentives for renewable energy are dwindling fast this year, as people recognize both the cost savings of installing solar generation, and the sound reasons for reducing our carbon footprint. Ethos Green Power in Viroqua has seen a dramatic increase in demand for this popular program. Alicia Leinberger, a 20 year veteran in Wisconsin renewables, says “While it’s exciting to see strong participation in the program, Ethos wants to make sure anyone who wants solar, can get it. With funds being reserved as fast as they are this year, availability is a real concern.”
Focus on Energy funds are invested in renewable energy and energy efficiency measures, and are collected on each electric bill, in a public benefits fund. Cash grants are available to homes and businesses, to help with the upfront costs of customer-owned solar generation. The overall program success is measured in savings, both in dollars and kilowatt hours.
Residential incentives are a maximum of $2,000, business incentives are a maximum of $40,000, and farmers are incentivized at double the business rate, with a cap of $10,000. The program has made a difference for thousands of homeowners and businesses in Wisconsin. In a 2019 report by Cadmus, Focus on Energy saved $3.62 for every dollar spent, and prevented more than 28.5 million tons of carbon dioxide from being pumped into the atmosphere.
In early 2000, the program was just beginning, and Wisconsin was recognized as a leader in renewable energy. When Walker took office in 2010, Focus on Energy was stripped of its power as the new administration out-sourced the program. Now in 2020, it is beginning to pick up steam again. This is coinciding with a new awareness on the part of utility customers, of the cost savings of solar energy, and increasing demand for funds this year.
Ethos has captured hundreds of thousands of public benefits dollars for customer-owned systems in southwestern Wisconsin. And this year, due to fast diminishing fund pools, Ethos is encouraging people to get started early while funds are available. Now that Vernon Electric Cooperative has joined the Focus on Energy program, everyone in the Ethos service territory is eligible for the grants. Our first system of the year was for Viroqua area resident, Philothea Bezin, who believes “solar is the right thing to do”. Her new 14 kW system powers her home, and she’ll get back $2,000, from Focus on Energy, towards the investment.
In addition to the Focus on Energy program, in 2020 there is a federal tax credit of 26% for systems installed at residences and businesses. In 2021 this credit will go down to 22%, and in 2022 it will drop to 0% for residences. At the same time, the value of solar will only go up.
When thinking about solar generation, with the Focus on Energy incentives, and the federal tax credit, it’s clear that investing in solar energy sooner than later, just makes good common cents.
We are Ethos Green Power, a solar energy and storage service company in Viroqua, WI, started in 2013. We recognize the need for urgent action to counteract climate chaos, and create a new culture of beneficial electrification and locally-owned renewable generation. To this end, Ethos services our region to replace fossil fuels with green powered solar electricity.
Currently we service 2400 solar panels, for 88 solar energy owners, and growing.