Michael Vickerman, policy director for the clean energy advocacy group Renew Wisconsin, said leasing arrangements could double or even triple the amount of rooftop solar panels in Wisconsin.
“There’s a whole subset of electricity customers that don’t have a tax liability or are organized as non-profits that can’t have a tax liability,” he said. “If a house of worship or a public school or the state of Wisconsin were to pursue a solar installation, that tax credit doesn’t show up as part of the value proposition.”
Vickerman points to a decision earlier this month by the State Buildings Commission to allow UW-Platteville to build a $3.4 million solar system that is expected to save the university about $217,000 a year in energy costs.
“They could have cut the cost of that investment by a third to a half,” Vickerman said. “Why would the state of Wisconsin not want to … save $1 million?”
The case before the PSC was brought by Eagle Point Solar, which won a contract to install 1.1 megawatts of solar panels on municipal buildings that would be leased to the city. We Energies, the city’s utility provider, refused to connect the panels to its grid and suggested the city participate in its own program.