MadiSUN Initiative Seeks to Double Madison's Use of Solar Energy

Tuesday, June 3, 2008 - 11:07am

Madison - Mayor Dave Cieslewicz today led the official kickoff of MadiSUN program, an initiative to double Madison's use of solar energy by 2010. The City of Madison has developed this two-year program in conjunction with Focus on Energy, UW Extension and Madison Gas and Electric (MG&E) with funding from the U.S. Department of Energy's "Solar America Cities" program. The mayor was joined at the event by local environmental and energy leaders.

"Solar energy is a clean and renewable power source that holds great potential for reducing our energy costs, and reducing our contribution to global warming," said Mayor Dave Cieslewicz. "MadiSUN will help homeowners and businesses break down the barriers to taking advantage of the many benefits that solar energy can provide."

The goal of MadiSUN is to help provide information and expertise that can make it easier for those interested in installing solar energy to do so. This will be done with the assistance of a consultant who can provide residents and businesses with technical expertise and answer questions regarding design, permitting and rebate programs. Information will also be available to the public at the MadiSUN website:

"As the load centers of energy use across the nation, cities present unique challenges and opportunities for solar market transformation," said Department of Energy (DOE) Acting Solar Program Manager Tom Kimbis. "DOE recognizes the important role of cities as champions of progressive energy efficiency and renewable energy efforts, and wishes to support their bold and innovative steps to accelerate solar technology adoption at the local level."

MG&E is also a partner in this initiative, helping to educate customers and the broader community about solar energy and helping to improve system affordability through its Clean Power Partners program. "It is important for us to pursue the important contributions solar energy can make in providing energy to our community," said Gary J Wolter, President and CEO of MG&E.

Today's kickoff was held beneath the solar canopy installed at Goodman Pool. MG&E and the City of Madison jointly worked on the installation of a solar electric shade structure. The 40-foot-long by 20-foot-wide shade structure is designed to provide shade for the toddler sandbox area while incorporating a 2.1 kW photovoltaic system on the roof. The system produces 2,600 kWh per year and reduces CO2 emissions by 5,200 pounds per year.

"Focus on Energy's Renewable Energy Program is proud to sponsor the MadiSUN project and support its efforts to make our capital city a national leader in clean, renewable energy," said Don Wichert, Director of the Focus on Energy Renewable Energy Program. "Focus on Energy welcomes the opportunity to participate in this project and help showcase the benefits of solar energy and the Solar City model to other communities in Wisconsin and across the nation."

The Department of Energy is helping fund MadiSUN with a $200,000 Solar America Cities grant. Additional support is being provided through in-kind contributions from the City of Madison ($80,000), Focus on Energy ($85,000), MG&E ($15,000) and users of the MadiSUN program ($20,000).

Madison is one of 25 cities in the nation to receive a Solar America Cities grant from DOE. Over the past two years, $4.9 million has been provided to these cities, which have been chosen for their commitment and comprehensive approach to the deployment of solar technologies and the development of sustainable solar infrastructures. More information about the nationwide solar cities program is available at

  • George Twigg, (608) 266-4611