Wisconsin Public Radio – June 21, 2016
By Chuck Quirmbach
Solar power and other renewable energy sources continue to make gains in Wisconsin to the point where some advocates are talking about the end of electric utility monopolies in the state.
Most people in Wisconsin still use electricity that comes from power plants running on coal, natural gas or nuclear energy. But with dropping prices for solar energy panels the last few years, more folks are signing up to have solar arrays in their yard or on their homes.
Enough are at least curious that on Saturday at the Midwest Renewable Energy Fair, a busload of people signed up for a tour of homes in the Stevens Point area that have solar panels installed by the company NorthWind Renewable Energy.
During a keynote speech, John Farrell of the Institute of Local Self-Reliance told the energy fair that a federal study has shown as much of 40 percent of electricity in Wisconsin could come from rooftop solar. “That’s not counting parking lots where we could put solar,” he said. “Brownfields, landfills, solar anywhere else you can think of. That’s an enormous amount we can do at a local level, right where we use electricity at minimal transmission costs,” Farrell said.