Groups File Petition for Clarification of Third-Party Ownership in Wisconsin

Vote Solar, on behalf of its Wisconsin members, breaks legal ground to clarify financing options for rooftop solar

Today, a group filed a petition for declaratory ruling at the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSC) to clarify the legality of third-party financing for rooftop solar and other distributed energy resources. Those that filed were Vote Solar, on behalf of its Wisconsin members, including a customer of Amherst-based Northwind Solar, as represented by the Environmental Law and Policy Center (ELPC) and Keyes & Fox LLP. 

The petition was issued in response to utility attempts to block access to the benefits of third-party ownership. The legality of third-party financing in Wisconsin has been left unresolved for about a decade.

“This is a commonsense clarification that is long overdue. Our petition will request a decision from the PSC on this important energy equity and solar financing issue for Wisconsin families and businesses,” says Will Kenworthy, Regulatory Director at Vote Solar. 

Third-party ownership permits anyone to access solar power without the burden of paying upfront for the entire project. This common financing arrangement that allows for consumer choice and advances energy equity is extremely popular across the country, including with businesses, low-to-moderate income households, and nonprofit organizations, such as churches and schools.

“We want to be able to offer any and every financing solution we can to our potential customers. No one in Wisconsin should be excluded from installing solar if they want to do so,” says Josh Stolzenburg, Chief Executive Officer at Northwind Solar. “The third-party financing and leasing options open up opportunities to those that might not otherwise be able to fund the upfront costs of these installations.”

Vote Solar’s members, in partnership with Northwind, seek clarity on the financing issue. The projects cannot move forward without the clarification requested in this petition.

The PSC will review the petition over a 20-day period. After the review period, the Commission may rule on the petition, reject it, or open a docket to accept public comment on the requested clarifications. 

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