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Contact Information
Nick Nichols
County Sustainability Coordinator
(608) 785-9768

Getting Started With Solar


The County of La Crosse is committed to supporting alternative energy systems and technology. As part of that commitment, the County has assembled information on solar power as it relates to planning, permitting, and education.  This information is provided to earn SolSmart recognition for making it faster, easier, and more affordable for our Citizens to go solar.  With the Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA) serving as our SolSmart Advisor, La Crosse's dedicated staff members are working to increase the efficiency of local processes related to solar development.
SolSmart builds upon the County's participation in the Sustainable La Crosse Commission, which recognizes a shared, collaborative responsibility for sustainable leadership and supports citizens, businesses, and organizations in adopting sustainable practices. 
Solar arrays are considered accessory use in all zoning districts and solar farms are considered conditional use in all zoning districts. In some instances, a solar array may be considered a conditional use.
Solar Permitting Checklist
*In the City of La Crosse, you will need to fill out the following permit applications:

Note: small rooftop solar PV permits are turned around within 3 business days. 
**In other municipalities please check with their staff to find appropriate permitting processes


State Solar Rights
Solar installation must be in compliance with State Statutes, including §66.0401 and §66.0403. Refer to these statutes for protection of solar rights in Wisconsin.
Additional solar policy in Wisconsin include:

  • Renewable Portfolio Standard (Wisconsin Statute § 196.378). In 2005, Wisconsin enacted a Renewable Portfolio Standard, which set a goal that 10% of statewide energy would come from renewable sources by 2015.
  • Net Metering. Net metering, initially created under Public Service Commission order (Order 6690-UR-107, effective January 1, 1993), allows owners of renewable energy systems no larger than 20 kW to sell excess generation back to the utility at retail rates.
  • Interconnection Standards. In 2004, the Wisconsin Public Service Commission adopted interconnection standards for distributed generation systems up to 15 MW in La Crosse County. 

The purpose of the programs under this paragraph shall be to help achieve environmentally sound and adequate energy supplies at reasonable cost, consistent with the commission's responsibilities under s. 196.025 (1) (ar) and the utilities' obligations under this chapter.




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