A Look at Affordable Solar Energy in Madison

June 25, 2012 at 11:39 am 2 comments

Sticking with a similar theme as the last post, this past week we observed the summer solstice in Madison. On June 21st, we had our longest day of the year. This day is used to mark the official beginning of summer, although the younger readers probably started summer a month ago when school let out. Without getting too sidetracked, I’d like to share some of the interesting facts and traditions I’ve found that have been started because of the summer solstice.

For instance, did you know the first (or only) full moon in June is called the Honey Moon? It’s said that this is the best time to harvest honey from bees. The traditional month for weddings in ancient times was also June. It was typical that for the first month after the wedding, the couple was fed honey or honeyed wine (mead) for fertility. Therefore it’s only right to call the time right after the wedding the “honeymoon”.

The solstice marks when the tilt of the earth leaves the northern half of the world experiencing the most daytime and least nighttime of the year. At the North Pole, there is 24 hours of daylight and the South Pole experiences a 24 hour night.  With the nigh amount of daylight coming into Madison at this time of year, it’s a great time for people with solar panels.

A really cool program I found for solar energy  is called  MadiSUN.  MadiSUN is a community based group by the city of Madison. It was started after Madison was named one of the top 25 cities for solar energy. MadiSUN works to make solar energy affordable and does so by providing group discounts and determining financial incentives for households. Multiple houses can go in and purchase solar panels and all benefit from the energy produced.

 One of the things that often turns people off to solar energy is the initial cost of purchase which can be pretty high. The program looks to alleviate that fear of cost through group purchasing, and in doing so, open up the world of solar energy to a larger market.  In addition to helping homeowners purchase solar panels, MadiSUN also offers free technical assistance to maintain your panels.

In just one year, MadiSUN had 22 households enroll in the program. This jump in a single year represents an 11% increase in the total number of residential household participating in solar energy. Over the lifetime of the solar panels, they will generate over 3 million kWh of renewable energy. That’s a savings  of $15,000 for each household, as well as reducing carbon emissions by over 100 tons per year.

Although their first round of houses is finished, MadiSUN is still working to provide solar energy to neighborhoods. Check out their website (http://madisungroup.wordpress.com/howitworks/) for informational webinars as well as other resources for financial incentives. You can also follow them on Facebook and Twitter.


EnAct Intern Adam


Entry filed under: conservation, energy, other, renewables, sustainability.

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