It’s no secret that energy prices in Wisconsin have been on the rise. According to WE energies, energy rates increased 11% last year, and as of January 2023, rates have risen another 13%. This increase results from a decision made by the Public Service Commission (PSC) which regulates monopoly utilities like WE energies. The PSC hadn’t had a chance to investigate the WE energies profit rate in more than a decade, and the case’s expert came to the opinion that the current WE energies profit rate of 10% is far above what is necessary to attract investors’ funds. This is also considerably higher than the US average. They demanded that the profit rate be reduced to 9%, but the PSC ultimately chose 9.8% in a vote that was 2-to-1.
This decision has led to a lot of frustration among Wisconsin residents who are feeling the pinch of these higher energy costs. Many are questioning why regulators seem more focused on keeping Wisconsin an attractive place for utility investors rather than keeping costs affordable for the customers who are paying the bills.
Wisconsinites are turning to alternative energy sources
One solution that has gained traction in recent years is investing in solar energy. By installing a solar energy system, homeowners and businesses significantly reduce their energy costs, protecting themselves from future rate increases, and they lock in predictable energy bills for financial security. Investing in a solar energy system offers energy independence and control over energy costs. Instead of renting energy from a utility company; customers can produce their energy, creating long-term savings and a sense of ownership over their energy consumption. All equipment comes with a 25-year manufacturing and contractor warranty, giving customers peace of mind.
On top of that, a solar energy system not only provides cost savings but also increases property value. According to the Appraisal Journal, for every $1 reduction in annual utility bills, home value increases by $20. A solar energy system that saves $200 per year would also add $4,000 to the value of a home. On average, the system will retain 70 to 80% of its purchase value over 25 years.
Currently, the government offers a tax credit of 30% for the cost of a solar PV system, increasing the return on investment for customers and allowing them to see returns in 8-12 years on average. The credit is set to decrease to 26% for systems installed in 2033 and to 22% for systems installed in 2034. This federal tax credit is a great opportunity for customers to invest in solar energy and receive financial support from the government. There is no maximum amount that can be claimed, allowing customers to maximize their savings.
Recent WE Energies price increases in Wisconsin are a result of a decision made by the PSC, which has left many residents feeling frustrated. However, homeowners and businesses can significantly reduce their energy costs, protect themselves from future rate increases, and increase their property value by investing in solar energy. The 30% federal solar tax credit is an opportunity for customers to invest in solar energy and receive financial support from the government. It’s a smart and sustainable solution that not only benefits the individual but also the environment.