Information, Training, Education, Project Facilitation, and Technical Assistance in Wisconsin
Wisconsin has gone to greater lengths than most states to raise awareness and shepherd new renewable energy projects to completion through education, marketing, training, and project facilitation (technical assistance and project "hand holding"). This is especially true if one considers the small overall size of the Wisconsin fund. The Wisconsin fund believes that its efforts in these areas have been essential. This case highlights that experience. Innovative Features Wisconsin's program administrator identified a string of eight steps on the road to project success: awareness, information, training, facilitation, technical assistance, financing, finding a contractor, installation. The first five of these have received particular emphasis in Wisconsin.
- Wisconsin's program features a full-time project facilitator that provides free phone consultations through a toll-free call center, offers on-site renewable energy audits and site assessments, and otherwise undertakes whatever "hand-holding" is necessary to bring a project to completion.
- In addition, workshops and educational events provide training for both individuals and businesses.
- This broad range of services support Wisconsin's other program components, including grants for feasibility studies and cash-back rewards on installed projects.
Results The 4-year pilot program in the Northeastern section of the state has proven the value of providing these services, with both the quantity and quality of potential projects coming through the pipeline increasing over time. As a result, virtually all of the programmatic elements in the area of project facilitation and technical assistance have been carried over into the new statewide program, which is just getting underway.