Solar-Powered Tailgate Party Celebrates Achievements at Solar Power International
Milwaukee's citywide approach to developing a sustainable solar market is fast-becoming an international blueprint for success. Through the Wisconsin Solar Initiative, businesses, government, organizations and trade associations are working together to shine the light on Milwaukee's achievements in the solar industry to other cities and corporations. The Wisconsin Solar Initiative will be exhibiting at Solar Power International (SPI), in Orlando, Fla., September 10 - 13, 2012. To highlight Wisconsin-made solar products, economic development opportunities, and research and training, the group is hosting a Wisconsin Solar Tailgate on Tuesday, September 11 from 3 - 5 pm. The event will feature beer from solar-powered Wisconsin breweries and, of course, cheese. The Tailgate will be hosted by the Wisconsin Solar Initiative and Caleffi Solar in booth #3943.
According to Amy Heart, Milwaukee Shines Program Manager, "Milwaukee and Southeast Wisconsin has quickly stepped to the forefront of the solar industry. Our quality, U.S.-made, solar electric, solar heating and cooling, and energy storage products are the result of a multi-dimensional effort. As a Solar America City, Milwaukee is leading the way through strong partnerships, innovative financing solutions and quality products in the solar supply chain. Thanks to a collective effort of businesses, innovators and government leadership, Milwaukee, and Wisconsin, is the Midwest leader in solar solutions."
Adding to the components necessary for success, Milwaukee Shines, the city of Milwaukee's solar program, works to build and support an expanding solar energy market . Milwaukee Shines provides solar education and outreach, financing solutions to reduce the cost of solar, and is making the solar installation process easier for customers, contractors and officials.
"Milwaukee Shines also works to support our community's existing, robust manufacturing and business base. Along with the Milwaukee Metro Solar Hot Water Business Council, our two organizations are providing a proven pathway to success for traditional businesses to become part of a growing industry," says Amy Heart, Milwaukee Shines Solar Program Manager. "In Milwaukee, we are known for making things, and making things well. We are taking that tradition and reputation to the solar supply chain," said Heart.
In 2008, Milwaukee was named one of 25 Solar America Cities by the U.S Department of Energy. Through Mayor Barrett's leadership, Milwaukee has launched a comprehensive, public-private partnership approach to promoting the adoption of solar energy covering both solar electric and solar hot water systems.
In 2009 a study conducted by CH2M Hill found that Milwaukee had the potential to become a Solar Hot Water (SHW) manufacturing cluster because of its: proximity to an emerging regional SHW market; access to booming national and global markets; existing manufacturing expertise; availability of state incentives for renewable energy components manufacturing; and affordable land for business expansion or relocation. The Milwaukee Metro Solar Hot Water Business Council was created as a result of that study to share what southeast Wisconsin has to offer the industry.
Since the study, Helios Solar Works, Ingeteam, and Caleffi Solar have all created manufacturing sites along the revitalized Menomonee Valley business corridor. Just west of downtown Milwaukee, the area is flanked by the Harley Davidson Museum on the east and the Milwaukee Brewers' Miller Park Stadium on the west. In addition, long-time Milwaukee-based companies EATON, another Wisconsin Solar Initiative partner, and Johnson Controls have also invested significantly in the solar industry.
The Wisconsin Solar Initiative is a project of the Midwest Renewable Energy Association and the Milwaukee Metro Solar Hot Water Business Council. Current partners include: City of Milwaukee; Caleffi Solar, Helios Solar Works, Ingeteam, EATON, UW-Milwaukee; Milwaukee School of Engineering; Focus on Energy; Johnson Controls; A.O. Smith; Hot Water Products; American Renewable Power; Rundle-Spence; Res Manufacturing and others.