Customer-Owned Generation

Español Customers can connect electric generation systems–like solar–to MGE's electric grid to receive credit on their MGE utility bills for the electricity they produce. MGE purchases this customer-generated energy, which then becomes part of the energy supply mix delivered to other electric customers.  

Our grid includes distributed generation, such as rooftop solar, as well as utility-owned renewables and renewable energy purchased via the energy market. MGE continues to invest in renewable energy projects to serve all customers as we build a smarter and more dynamic electric grid. By 2030, every MGE electric customer will have 80% fewer carbon emissions from their electricity use.  

Considering rooftop solar? 

With MGE cleaning its electric generation, green-minded customers may opt to focus on other carbon-reducing investments, such as energy efficiency and electrification, both of which are recognized globally as key strategies to achieve deep decarbonization. MGE also offers optional programs like Green Power Tomorrow and Shared Solar for customers who want to support regional renewable energy resources. 

If you choose to invest in your own electric generation, consider these steps to ensure you have the information needed to make an informed decision and to understand the process. 

It’s always a good idea to do some research before hiring a contractor and making a major household investment. As the rooftop solar industry has grown, so have the reports of scams, according to the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. 

Resources are available to help you find local solar installers as you begin the research process: 

Check with the Better Business Bureau for customer complaints and the Department of Safety and Professional Services to verify contractor licenses. 

Make sure you are talking to qualified and insured professionals who have certification from the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners, according to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Also, request testimonials or referrals from installers to learn more about other customers’ experiences.  

MGE has no affiliation or partnership with any rooftop solar installers. We work with all installers to get solar connected to the grid but do not offer endorsements for any.  

Get multiple bids and ask questions to ensure the system will meet your needs and will be installed safely. Costs can vary, so it’s wise to get several bids for your project. A system sized appropriately for your usage will result in a faster payback period on your investment. Be sure venders use the same specifications and bid on the same work.  

Remember to ask: 

Solar system and operation 

  • How will the location of my home and shading in the area affect production of the solar system? 
  • How much energy will my system produce, and is there a guarantee on energy production? 
  • Is my roof angle conducive to solar generation? According to the DOE, roof angles between 15 and 40 degrees are optimal for solar panel efficiency.  

Installation and beyond 

  • Who is responsible for permitting? 
  • What are the installation steps? 
  • Who is responsible if my roof is damaged during installation? 
  • What type of maintenance is required, and who will perform it? 
  • What does the warranty include, and what is its duration?  
  • What happens if your company is no longer in business in the future? 
  • Will I incur any additional costs over the life span of the solar system? 

Exercise caution before signing any contracts, and be wary of aggressive sales pitches or unsolicited sales calls, extremely low bids or offers claiming to provide free solar panels. MGE does not offer free solar panels, and according to the DOE, the federal government does not have any programs that install solar panels on homes for free. 

Reach out to other professionals. Ask your: 

  • Roofing contractor about the condition of your roof and how many years before it will need to be replaced. Repairing or replacing your roof before installing solar panels can help you avoid the need to have the panels removed and reinstalled later. 
  • Insurance agent if solar panels will impact your homeowners insurance. 
  • Tax professional if you qualify for any incentives, if a leased solar system will increase your property taxes and/or if you are required to report proceeds from selling any excess power your system produces. 
  • Homeowner’s Association (HOA) if your system meets HOA guidelines and if any approvals are required. 
  • Real estate professional if a rooftop solar system is expected to increase your property value or make it more difficult to sell your home in the future. 

It’s also a good idea to contact Focus on Energy. This statewide program offers rebates and incentives for energy-saving and renewable energy projects. An energy efficient home uses less energy!  

Additional solar power buying tips are available from these sources: 

It’s important to contact MGE early in your research process—before you sign a contract with a solar installer. We can help you understand: 

  • Billing. Customers with rooftop solar are not typically “off the grid,” so you will continue to receive a bill from MGE for utility service. Any time your solar panels don’t generate power, such as nights and cloudy days, you automatically switch to use power from the grid. See the Net Metering FAQ for more information about billing.
  • Net metering, which gives you credit for any excess power your system may produce and deliver to the grid.  
  • Your energy usage. We can provide insight into potential savings over time. This is important as estimated payback periods for solar rooftop systems are based on certain assumptions in the calculations. 
  • The process for interconnecting our system should you decide to install rooftop solar. Note: For safety reasons, interconnected rooftop solar systems do not supply power to your household or business during an outage affecting MGE’s system.

There is a lot to learn when considering a solar installation. If you still have questions about whether a rooftop solar system is right for you or how you can reduce your environmental footprint, contact MGE. Our Energy Experts are here to help.