Last Friday I was honored to take part in the 2022 MadiSUN launch event at the Ace Apartments on the City’s east side. This is the seventh year of MadiSUN – the City’s solar program for homes, businesses, affordable housing providers and nonprofits. And each additional rooftop of solar energy gets us closer to Madison’s community-wide goal of 100% renewable energy and net zero carbon by 2050 (or sooner).

The host of the event was Movin’ Out, a statewide nonprofit affordable housing developer. Along with their project partner, the Commonwealth Companies, they received a Backyard Grant for a solar array that was installed at the Ace Apartments. The Ace includes 70 apartment homes, with 59 affordable units, 14 of which are designated for households that include a person with a disability. Their 124-kilowatt array will offset over 90% of the electric consumption for the common areas. This means that more of their operating budget can go towards services in the community instead of to their utility bill.

This year, we’re increasing the size of grants (up from $40,000 to $50,000) offered through the Backyard program so more community-based organizations can benefit from onsite solar energy.Mayor Rhodes-Conway stands near solar panel with Movin' Out staff

The Solar for Business program, which connects Madison-based businesses with local solar developers, has also been revamped. Grants ($150 per kW) through this program will help incentivize our business community to install larger and more robust solar arrays. Through the program, 19 local businesses have installed or will install solar, and these firms will serve as mentors to other businesses looking to add renewable energy and reduce their carbon footprint.

Our residential solar program provides Madison homeowners with access to qualified, reputable solar contractors at an affordable price. Residents have easy access to solar education sessions, financing information, and additional materials on electric-vehicle charging, home battery storage, and energy efficiency. The residential program helps customers through every stage of the solar buying process, making sure solar is simple and within reach.

Since 2016, the MadiSUN programs have spurred approximately $6 million in renewable energy investments in our community. Nearly 3 MEGAWATTS of solar will be added to our local energy grid thanks to these programs. This is enough electricity to offset approximately 3,200 tons of CO2 each year, and is roughly equivalent to taking 600 vehicles off the road or planting 48,000 trees!

Finally, the MadiSUN program will expand this year to help develop our local solar workforce. Funding has been set aside to work with people to pursue careers in the solar and renewable energy industry. Madison and the surrounding area have incredible demand for solar and solar jobs. We are helping installers connect with, train and employ local residents that expand the local clean energy workforce.

MadiSUN solar projects support living-wage jobs, reduce air pollution, help save residents money and reinforce the stability of our electric grid. Now more than ever, we see the value of locally-produced energy. Wisconsin residents send billions of dollars out of state each year to import coal, gas and other fossil-fuels to generate our electricity. By investing in solar and renewable energy, our community can keep our energy dollars here in Wisconsin.

The MadiSUN program helps make it easy to go solar – learn more at

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Category: Sustainability