We’re Getting Solar!
The Chequamegon Food Co-op has contracted with Solar CBI for a 64.8 kw installation on the lower roof of our store. The array will feature 120 solar modules at 540w each that are set into low profile racks and weighted to the roof with bricks. The panels are double-sided which means they will be able to pick up rays not only directly from the sun, but also light that bounces off the white roof. Once fully installed, the array is expected to offset about 20% of the co-op’s electricity usage. The project will cost roughly $130,000 and is estimated to have a seven-year cost-savings payback, though with increasing energy costs, that payback time could improve. Due to the parapet around the perimeter of the roof, and low profile of the rack system, it is unlikely that the system will be visible from ground level (unlike the fun rendering above) once installed. However, we will have an online monitoring system that we will use to share our clean energy savings.
After several profitable years, we have been able to prioritize investing in solar. We are waiting to hear if we received a REAP grant through the FDA. If awarded, the grant could help offset the cost of the project. We are also trying to obtain any Focus on Energy credits available.
Solar CBI is owned by Craig Buttke, who is a Chequamegon Food Co-op member-owner and avid supporter of co-ops. He started Solar CBI with his partner, Katie, in 2019, though has been in the solar industry since 2004. The two of them are transitioning to living in the Chequamegon Bay from Amherst, WI. Installation will be happening this fall when materials arrive. The co-op is excited to finally make this vision come true!