Often after we try something new – perhaps test driving a particular car model, for example—we suddenly notice that thing all around us. In the weeks after I purchased my first Prius I suddenly noticed a lot more of the vehicles on the road.
The phenomenon applies to solar power too. After someone installs solar on their roof, they tend to notice more solar on other roofs – largely because they are now paying more attention to solar on rooftops.
Seeing more solar is normal. Making the effort to map that solar? Well, that’s extraordinary.
Max Schweiner and his fiancée Julia installed solar on their house in 2021. Following the installation, Max began to notice solar on rooftops all around the community. It made him wonder how much solar was installed in Madison.
“I wanted to know just how prevalent home solar installations have become around town. I realized the City [of Madison] made finding that out possible, through the public permit records system. It was just a matter of running reports, cleaning up the data, and plotting out the sites.”
Max Schweiner, an electrical engineer passionate about renewable technologies, pulled data from City of Madison and City of Milwaukee permit databases and then organized the results into a Google map. The map features both residential and commercial solar installations in both Madison and Milwaukee.
“After I created the map, some friends encouraged me to share it on social media. It was great to hear from other people who had installed solar, and who were just as excited as me to see so many installations out there,” said Schweiner.
We are excited to share Max Schweiner’s work because maps like his can increase awareness of solar installations, which will help grow the solar market. Indeed, studies show that solar installations are contagious, that homes close to an existing solar installation are more likely to install solar.
“We’re thrilled with our solar installation. It’s fantastic knowing that so many other households and businesses are pursuing solar too,” says Schweiner.
Schweiner’s map features solar installations within the Cities of Madison and Milwaukee. If you are curious about other solar installations, our Clean Energy Map features business, nonprofit and local government installations across Dane County and the Wisconsin K-12 Energy Education Program maintains a map of all K-12 schools across Wisconsin with solar installations.
Kathy is the Director of the Dane County’s Office of Energy and Climate Change. In that role she's leading efforts to implement the Climate Action Plan. Prior to coming to Dane County, Kathy led Cool Choices and, prior to that, she led Wisconsin's Focus on Energy program.
The Dane County Office of Energy & Climate Change maintains this blog as a way to offer:
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