We Energies announces agreement for solar power users
MILWAUKEE, Wis. (CBS 58) – People with solar-powered homes will no longer be faced with a fixed-cost recovery charge from WE Energies.
The electric company has announced their agreement with the solar project – RENEW.
WE Energies was considering a surcharge for people with solar panels. The company was saying customers use their infrastructure and should still have to pay. Meanwhile, solar advocates weren’t in favor of this and now it seems their voices were heard.
The City of Milwaukee’s “Grow Solar Program” is working on its first solar installation this week.
“We’re excited to see the level of interest among folks in Milwaukee about solar, even when the surcharge was being purposed,” says Peter Murphy solar program director of Midwest Renewable Energy Association.
WE Energies had proposed a surcharge of about $15 a month for the average solar user, but this week dropped that idea.
“As part of the agreement, we’ll spend at least two years talking about it, working with RENEW, and seeing if we can maybe find some common ground to address the cost shift issues, which is still there but maybe we can address it in a different way,” says Brendan Conway spokesperson for WE Energies.
WE Energies argued homes and businesses with solar panels still use electricity as a backup and community infrastructure without paying as much as other customers.
“We’ve said all along we don’t want to see any cost shift,” says Conway. “So customers, who don’t have solar, should know we’re going to continue to look for ways to make sure there is fairness for all customer groups. We’re going to work with RENEW Wisconsin and other interested parties.”
“They were going to really claw back $111,000 a year,” explains Murphy. “I’m glad they dropped their proposal, it was pretty much nonsense to begin with.”
While acknowledging solar is a positive step, WE Energies says they will continue talks with Renew about long-term agreements on solar energy.
“Solar is not going anywhere, it’s great,” says Conway. “We strongly support solar; whether it’s residential or on a larger scale like we’re doing. But I think the question is how can we get there in a better way?”
Originally the proposal was scheduled to be voted on by the Wisconsin Public Service Commission in the fall, but with the agreement that vote will no longer take place.