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Columbus - E3P - Enhanced Energy Efficiency Program
At its annual pancake breakfast, the Columbus Fire Department provided a welcome table to help the utility celebrate Public Power Week and the Greater Columbus Energy Commission (GCEC) encourage people to use energy wisely. Customers of the utility who came to the breakfast received a free LED light bulb. They could also enter a prize drawing for an ENERGY STAR floor lamp or smart power strip.

Customers in the WPPI Energy member communities of New Richmond and River Falls, Wis., may soon have the option of purchasing homegrown sustainable energy generated in local solar gardens.

The selection of the two communities to pilot WPPI Energy’s strategic community solar garden initiative was announced Sept. 11 at the organization’s annual meeting in Wisconsin Dells, Wis. The WPPI Energy membership will pursue the projects as a first step toward providing customers even more energy options.

“Customers today are increasingly interested in generating their own electricity from solar energy,” says Vice President of Energy Services Jake Oelke. “As community-owned, customer-focused and experienced renewable energy leaders, WPPI Energy member utilities are well positioned to deliver those opportunities.”

Community solar gardens are groupings of solar photovoltaic (PV) panels that use the sun’s energy to generate electricity for multiple users. Participating customers, who may subscribe to receive the output from one or more panels, receive the benefits of PV technology and the efficiencies associated with a larger-scale project without having to own, host or maintain the equipment on their own property. Subscribers receive a monthly bill credit for the energy their panels produce.

Is there a solar garden in Columbus's future?
The Greater Columbus Energy Commission, Columbus Water & Light and the City of Columbus would like to know the level of support in the city for building a shared solar electric facility. Residences and businesses that are customers of CW&L could purchase shares in the facility and would receive monthly credits on their utility bill for the electricity produced by their shares.