Wisconsin’s motto is short and blunt: “Forward”. According to legend, it is meant to signal to the rest of the United States the state’s constant, consistent desire to show the rest of the country where the future lies. Sunrun has decided to burnish those leadership credentials by bringing its home solar service to the state.
pv magazine has reported closely on solar development in the Midwest in states like Minnesota, Indiana, Illinois and Ohio. Some states, like Minnesota, have tried to lead. In others, like Indiana, the legislatures seem hellbent on strangling the rooftop-solar industries in their states. So Sunrun’s decision to be the first national residential solar to serve the Midwest is significant.
“We are excited to bring affordable clean energy solutions to homeowners in Wisconsin,” said Lynn Jurich, CEO of Sunrun. “We see a demand for solar that has been underserved in the state and look forward to giving residents a choice to reduce their electric bills with solar, while providing value to the grid.”
The service, which includes both an ownership option with Sunrun BrightBuy program or through a Sunrun BrightAdvantage loan, will first be available in the southeast, including (but not limited to) Dodge, Fond du Lac, Jefferson, Kenosha, Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Racine, Rock, Sheboygan, Walworth, Waukesha and Washington counties.
“Wisconsin is a great place to do business and we are always encouraged when companies decide to set up shop in the Badger State, especially to see them investing in our talented workforce,” said Ray Allen, Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD). “The energy sector offers good job opportunities and a path forward for the state to continue growing its economy and developing the workforce.”
Currently, Wisconsin employs 2,813 solar workers, including 1,497 installation jobs, according to The Solar Foundation’s 2016 National Solar Jobs Census. Five of the counties Sunrun is entering first rank among the Top 10 counties in Wisconsin for solar jobs, totaling 37% of overall total (1,055). It has created 872 solar jobs in the past two years, despite ranking 50th in U.S. insolation rates and having a weak renewable-portfolio standard (RPS) of 10% and poor net-metering policies.
The state currently ranks 26th in the nation in solar jobs per capita, but Sunrun’s decision to come to the state could move that ranking higher, as the company is already looking to hire Wisconsinites throughout its service area.*
* All statistics from The Solar Foundation’s National Solar Jobs Census.