Community Solar Garden Permit Approved for New Wisconsin Facility

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The Town of Superior in Wisconsin is on its way to receiving a new renewable energy source after the plan commission approved a community solar garden permit. Superior Water, Light and Power (SWL&P) is now one step closer to developing the clean energy facility it has planned for North 28th Street and Hammond Avenue in Superior.

During a meeting of the plan commission on Dec. 16, a special-use permit was granted for SWL&P’s future project. According to the permit, the utility provider will be granted the ability to add a new solar facility to its growing portfolio. The planned facility is expected to be 470-kilowatts in size, which is enough solar power to run nearly 115 homes.

According to SWL&P manager of regulatory compliance, policy and rates, Joscelyn Skandel, the new installation would be one of the town’s first in more than 30 years. Skandel noted that the town had a previous generation site, but it closed down in the 1980s.

The community solar garden permit grants SWL&P the ability to provide homeowners and small businesses with unimpeded access to solar energy. Per the basis of community solar, the program, upon development, will take on subscribers that are eligible to receive a credit for the energy they’re using. SWL&P expects to build the new facility in Q2 of 2021 once it has contracts for 75% of the customers expecting to subscribe.

The small fee that participants have to pay to subscribe will cover the cost of the new garden. That includes maintenance throughout the installation’s 25-year lifespan and the initial installation. To prevent rising rates, the cost of the program will b fixed. Subscriptions are being sold in 1-kilowatt increments to allow homeowners to subscribe to only what they need.

Though the approval process of the permit was relatively smooth, the project does have opposers. One individual is a Lake Nebagamon resident, Jim Larson, who believes the fog common around U.S. Highways 2 and 53 in Superior would hinder the array’s efficiency. Despite the minimal pushback, SWL&P is thrilled to move forward but will have to wait for approval from Superior’s City Council.

A meeting regarding the special-use permit has been set for Jan. 5, 2021.


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