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Solar project gets LEG Up from Organic Valley
Soldiers Grove couple wants to start business
redfield solar project leg up
Rick and Becky Redfield of rural Soldiers Grove received a loan from community loan program LEG Up to install a 24 panel, 6.6 kW solar PV system on their farmstead. Rick Redfield is converting the garage into an income-generating machinists workshop. - photo by Contributed/Bob Goonin

With Organic Valley’s help, the community loan program known as LEG Up has added a sixth local solar project to its growing list.

Rick Redfield and his wife Becky, a retired couple from rural Soldiers Grove, just received a LEG Up loan to have a 24 panel, 6.6 kW solar PV system installed at their farmstead. Rick is in the process of converting their garage into a machinist workshop. Even more costly than the electricity to run the tooling would be the cost to heat the garage with their electrical hot water heaters.

“We did a thorough evaluation of the best way to reduce our heating costs,” Rick Redfield said. “Turns out that generating electricity using Solar PV was half the cost of the other option. We hope to turn the workshop into an income generating small business. The LEG Up loan through WCCU enabled us to buy the system while we are still getting set up.”

Becky Redfield added, “And it’s not just the economics – we believe that we as a society need to reduce our burning of coal and our carbon footprint. This was a personal statement for us to move in that direction.” They are both thrilled that their solar PV system is already up and running and generating electricity.

Organic Valley made this LEG Up loan possible through a $25,000 non-interest bearing deposit at WCCU. That brings Organic Valley’s savings tied to this loan program to $50,000. That support has translated into two community member solar projects totaling 17.6 kW of power. Many area businesses want to be known in the community for supporting efforts to become more sustainable. They can now join Organic Valley in offering community members a LEG Up to do just that.

The LEG Up Loan Program is a partnership between Local Energy Generation (LEG) and the Westby Co-op Credit Union (WCCU). The program provides a zero interest savings reserve that enables WCCU to offer low-interest loans to property owners and businesses for renewable energy installations as well as energy-conservation upgrades. Community members considering solar, wind and geothermal projects may also benefit from the 30-percent federal tax credit.

“Westby Co-op Credit Union is proud to partner with the LEG Up organizers, and we hope the low-interest financing option serves as an incentive for people to seriously consider the benefits of converting to a renewable energy source,” said Robert Bland, vice-president of finance for Westby Co-op Credit Union.

The LEG Up loan program has now backed loans for more than $100,000 , including an 11 kW system for Snowy Ridge Christmas Tree Farm. LEG Up loans are available to anyone who lives or works in Westby Co-op Credit Union’s 12-county area.

Contact Samantha at 608-567-4914 or Bob at 608-606-6031 for more information.