Linda Beck

I have always wanted to go solar, and recently the Shorewood Conversation Committee began working on a “group buy” with Arch Electric Solar and the City of Milwaukee. Milwaukee pre-screened contractors and selected Arch, due to their special certification in solar, which many companies do not have.

They made the process easy. Shorewood residents got to join the group buy with the City, so nobody had to sort through contractors, and being in the group buy, we all got a discounted price.

Energy Consultant Mike Cornell came to my house and noticed the garage, with its southern slope, receives enough direct sun to make it worthwhile and qualify for a hefty rebate from Focus on Energy. He looked at my old WE bills and gave me an idea of how much the 6 panels that my garage could hold may realistically produce. Mike’s prediction was that the panels would pay for themselves in 9 – 10 years and after that would essentially make free electricity. There is no noise and no maintenance.

Besides the Focus on Energy rebate, there is a 30% federal tax plus a rebate from Arch based on how many KW they sold. With the group buy, the price drops for every 50 KW sold. We went live in mid-August and the panels made their 300th Kilowatt on Thanksgiving Day.

Long and short of it, you sell all the power you make to WE and they sell it back to you at a lower rate. You need a separate meter for this which Arch installs.

So, if you are an environmentalist, have a roof that tilts to the south and have a little cash stowed away, I’d pursue it. Mike is great to work with. If someone wants to sell, this is supposed to be a good selling point, like a new kitchen or bathroom. There is a form to fill out so the new added value of your home is not added on to your property tax bill. My home is worth more now, but my tax bill remained the same. A new owner would face the full assessed value.

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