What is the Shared Solar program?
Shared Solar is an easy way to get the benefits of cost-effective, locally generated solar energy to power your home or business. Participants are able to support solar even if they live in an apartment or condo or have a shaded roof.
Participating customers are able to reserve a portion of the electricity produced from the Shared Solar arrays with a stable electric rate through 2045. The power from the arrays is delivered to MGE's electric grid, replacing electricity generated by fossil fuels or other sources.
The second installation of MGE's Shared Solar program is currently sold out; however, interested customers are still able to join the waiting list if a new project comes online. There is no obligation to join the program by signing up for the waiting list, so check it out today.
Where is Shared Solar located?
MGE partnered with the City of Middleton to build the first array on the roof of the City's Municipal Operations Center (MOC), east of and visible from Highway 12 on the north side of Middleton.
A second array was completed in August 2020 at Middleton Municipal Airport. This expansion of the program allowed for additional customers to participate in Shared Solar. More than 2,000 customers have participated or are currently participating in the Shared Solar program.
How do I join the waiting list?
Join the waiting list by using our residential customer request form available here. Once we receive your request, we will place you on our waiting list in the order in which we received your request. If new shares become available, we will review your application, determine your eligibility and contact you to determine if you are still interested in participating. There is no obligation to purchase shares by joining the waiting list.
How much electricity is produced?
The first array located on the MOC has a capacity of 500 kilowatts (kW). Given the type and efficiencies of solar panels and other project components and our region's solar exposure, we have generated about 615,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) annually from the project.
The Shared Solar portion of the array at Middleton Municipal Airport has a capacity of 3.5 megawatts. The Shared Solar portion of this array produced more than 5.5 million kWh in each of its first three years of operation.
Are participants paying to own part of the solar array?
No. Participants reserve a portion of the electricity produced from the solar arrays.
Is the power delivered directly to the homes or businesses of participants?
The power from the Shared Solar arrays is delivered to MGE's electric grid. It replaces electricity that would have been generated by fossil fuels and other sources.
How does Shared Solar compare to buying a rooftop solar system?
Buying your own system involves paying up front or taking out a loan for the cost of the solar system, along with other potential costs such as roof replacement or tree trimming as well as ongoing maintenance and insurance. There are both federal and state rebates currently available for rooftop solar, which can help offset the initial cost for those who are able to install panels on their home.
Joining Shared Solar involved paying a minimal upfront participation fee and your set Shared Solar rate for the solar energy per kWh. There is no need for installation, maintenance or replacement of equipment as MGE manages all of that for you. For all Shared Solar electricity, the per-kWh electricity rate will not exceed the current rate for the term of the agreement. Current participants in the program are now seeing savings based on the current standard electricity rate.
For both rooftop solar and Shared Solar, you pay an upfront cost in the short term to lock in your electricity rate to help protect against rate increases over time. Also, in both cases, you are supporting clean, local renewable energy to reduce your carbon footprint and help our community achieve net-zero carbon electricity.
Why is solar power more expensive today? I thought the energy from the sun was free.
The energy from the sun is free, but the cost of equipment used to convert that free energy into usable electric energy is still expensive. Costs for land and maintenance, as well as the intermittent nature of renewable energy, which requires more of it to be installed to help meet demand, also can create additional costs.
What if it is a cloudy day and the solar panels do not generate enough electricity?
We do everything we can to maintain and operate the system to maximize the amount of electricity you receive. Changes in the energy generated are normal because the amount of sunlight changes with the weather and seasons. The system will generate the most electricity in the summer when the sun is higher in the sky and the days are longer. It is also normal for solar panels to generate less energy over time as they age (about one-half of 1 percent less per year).
What if a storm damages the solar panels?
We do everything we can to make repairs and restore the solar system to optimal performance. Damage to the solar arrays will not cause participants to lose power. MGE will continue to meet the energy needs of the participants with other resources as long as there is no damage to the electrical system feeding their homes.
Can I monitor the solar project's energy production over time?
Yes. You can monitor the energy production of the solar arrays at mge.com/sharedsolarproduction.
What’s the difference between Shared Solar and MGE's Green Power Tomorrow (GPT) program?
Both of MGE's renewable energy programs provide eligible electric customers with the opportunity to support clean energy sources. GPT participants support wind and solar resources feeding our grid from throughout the region. GPT customers pay a penny more per kWh and can select a fixed dollar amount or a percentage of their monthly energy use (1% through 100%) to purchase under GPT. Shared Solar provides locally generated energy at a stable rate that will not increase for the life of the agreement.
Currently, the Shared Solar program is closed to new enrollments. If you're interested in supporting renewable energy, please visit our Green Power Tomorrow (GPT) or Renewable Flat Bill pages to learn about your options.
How does Shared Solar fit with MGE's Energy 2030 framework?
This community solar program was designed by MGE with help from our customers. Shared Solar is an example of the types of innovative programs, products and services through which we are partnering with customers to advance our Energy 2030 framework. Beyond our clean energy goals under Energy 2030, MGE is targeting net-zero carbon electricity by 2050. We'll continue to work with our customers to reach this ambitious goal.