Solar for WI K-12 Schools: Resource Center
We've collected resources and put together video content with the intent to assist school administrative teams, boards, staff, students, facilities crew, or other school affiliates (“Solar Planning Teams”) throughout all stages in the solar project development process. We present information about the technology, site analysis, project finance, and procurement strategies used to deliver on-site solar. You can use the resources from start to finish or you can select certain section a la carte, based on your school's needs. Email email@example.com with any questions. Thanks for joining us!
Fundamental Resources for a WI School Solar Project
- Dr. Ronald Russ, Superintendent Merton Community School District - Located in Waukesha County, Merton just completed installation of a 389 kW DC PV system in November 2019, which is largely financed through a low-interest loan and is expected to save the district $70,000 in energy costs each year.
- Andy Weiland, Business Administrator, Oregon School District - The district has had several PV systems on various schools for several years, and is now planning to incorporate a solar PV system over 500kW into new construction of a net zero elementary school
- Lee Black, Buildings & Grounds Director, Darlington Community School District - In January 2016, the district completed the installation of a 156 kW solar photovoltaic (PV) system on the roof of their elementary middle school building. The system is expected to generate approximately 200,000 kWh of electricity per year, or about 19% of the entire district’s use, saving them about $12,500 in usage charges and roughly $3,250 in demand charges.
- Merton Community School District (2019) - 389kW DC - installed on both Merton Intermediate and Merton Primary, saving the district $70,000 annually.
- Oregon School District (2020) - 649kW DC on Forest Edge Elementary School, the first net-zero school in WI.
- Madison Area Technical College (2018) - 1.85 MW
- Darlington Elementary/Middle School (2015)- 156 kW
- Northland Pines School District: Elementary, Middle, & High School (2017) - 331 total kW
- NABCEP Certified Installer Locator (website) - online database of professional certified solar installers
- MREA Business Member Directory (website) - list of our business members, searchable by PV installer, among other categories
- Focus on Energy Trade Allies (website) - searchable database of contractors and service providers who partner with Focus to deliver energy efficiency and renewable energy products and expertise to WI residents and businesses.
The next step in PV project development is analyzing your school's energy use-- meaning you need to get your hands on some of those utility bills! This section will lay out some of the steps your solar planning team should take to understand the school's energy use and explains how this information informs the PV development process. In this module, we introduce energy analysis topics including: energy generation mix, load profiles, utility tariffs, rate designs, PV system sizing, and energy analysis tools.
It's important to note, that you need not develop and analyze your whole solar PV system internally. This section is intended to ensure you have a basic understanding in how solar will impact your energy use and electricity bills. Most solar contractors will provide you a site assessment and financial analysis free of charge. While schools are required to procure solar through a competitive bidding process, you can still choose to consult with a contractor early on in the process for site assessments and financial analysis, In the top of the course, we've compiled resources to help you find a contractor early on in the process.