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Mole Lake Nearing End of Solar Panel Project

A Northwoods tribal community is finishing the installation of solar panels, and officials with a Wisconsin based solar group say it’s one of the largest per capita solar array installations in the Midwest.

Tribal leaders with the Mole Lake Sokaogon Chippewa community paired up with SunVest to secure a couple million dollars in grants from the U.S. Energy Department and the Housing and Urban Development Department. Vice President of Operations Adam Gusse says panels have been installed on 50 homes and 19 businesses. He says Mole Lake will be the only community in the state to have solar panels at this capacity…  

“…it varies by house depending on usage but, the average is 85 percent and it’s on 50% of the homes that the tribe owns. For the commercial businesses, they now have solar on 19 of their commercial facilities, there’s only one or two commercial buildings that they own and operate that don’t have solar on them. The percentage is closer to 25% of the usage because they use so much power.”

Gusse says most of the state has less than one percent of its generation coming from solar energy.

Jeff Ackley Jr. is the tribal administrator and says it’s a step in the right direction...

This is the largest per capita install in the Midwest which is pretty cool that our Sokaogon Chippewa community can be put on the map for that. Even though we are a small community we also try to plan ahead for a future for our kids and future generations that will be after us.

Ackley says the solar panels will save them about 100,000 dollars a year. 

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