Construction is expected to get underway next spring on Superior’s first community solar garden.

The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin gave its approval Oct. 7 to build the 470-kilowatt solar garden near Heritage Park in Superior.

Superior Water, Light and Power submitted the proposal for consider in January to build a solar garden large enough to power 115 homes.

“This is SWL&P’s first electric generation source since the Winslow Generating Station closed in 1981,” said Rob Sandstrom, SWL&P president, in a prepared statement. “It’s exciting for SWL&P and it’s exciting for our customers to have a local, renewable power option.”

The cost to install and maintain Superior Solar will be paid by customers who chose to participate in the program. Costs will be fixed to protect customers from changes in energy costs, according to a SWL&P statement.

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Superior Solar customers will retain ownership of any Solar Renewable Energy Credits. Subscriptions will be offered to residential and business customers in one kilowatt blocks for a one-time upfront payment, monthly subscription rate or a fixed charge per kilowatt hour. All options are based on 25-year agreements, but customers will have the flexibility to leave the program at any time without penalty.

In each option, participants receive a monthly credit for solar energy based on their subscription.

“This project is really about options and choices,” said Joscelyn Skandel, manager of regulatory compliance, policy and rules. “Our customers are asking for this option, and we are excited to provide the opportunity for customers who choose to receive their power from a renewable source right here in Superior.”

Subscribers will be accepted on a first come, first served basis. Customers who have expressed interest already will be contacted soon.

SWL&P is reviewing the list of local business owners who have expressed interest in the garden because of the impact of the pandemic to determine continued their interest in the option.

For more information on the project, visit www.swlp.com/solar, call 715-395-6220 or email solarprogram@swlp.com.