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New initiative to bring more solar energy to La Crosse County

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LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW) - Plenty of sunshine in recent days has been perfect for those that use solar energy at their house or business.

La Crosse County, the City of La Crosse and the Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA) created a new initiative to bring more solar energy to the area. Grow Solar is the name of the new plan, and it aims to help area home and business owners access cheaper installations of solar energy.

The new program will help community members learn about solar energy and facilitate those that are interested in a bulk purchase, in turn bringing the cost down a bit.

Environment Planner for the City of La Crosse Lewis Kuhlman says he hopes this opportunity will allow people to dip their toes into the renewable energy world.

"We feel like there are a lot of environmentally minded people in the community who may have been interested in solar panels and that possibility," said Kuhlman.

Owner and CEO of Olson Solar Energy Cameron Olson says he sees the benefits of solar energy on a daily basis.

"It's green and good for the environment. We're doing something renewable so instead of using coal or oil or some of the natural gases where solar energy...you can see today beautiful sunshine coming down...we can grab it with our solar panels and use it for energy," said Olson.

He adds that energy production has gotten expensive, and going solar has numerous financial benefits.

"Over the last 30 years energy has increased in cost by about 80 some percent just through the energy companies alone," said Olson. "It is truly an investment that has a payback and has a return and can actually go beyond that return."

Olson says that after 7-11 years, most customers pay off their solar panels with the savings on their energy bills.

"They absolutely work. We have customers that send us their bills after we are done working with them and it's a zero dollar bill and we covered all of their energy usage and they're super happy about it," said Olson.

The City of La Crosse says that anyone within La Crosse County boundary is able to participate in this new initiative.

You can find out more at their website by clicking here.

Warren Sears

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