3 Ways Solar Power Is Environmentally Efficient


21 Feb, 2024

Northwind Solar will Transition Forward Note: This communication from Northwind Solar CEO Josh Stolzenburg is a message to our stakeholders, clients, and friends about an exciting new development at Northwind. I’ve been consumed, for nearly two decades now, leading a passion project called Northwind Solar. Originally conceived to provide meaningful work for those who wanted to advance climate and energy solutions, we’ve grown into one of Wisconsin’s most effective and respected solar companies. Thirty committed employees (of whom 16 share ownership) now work out of our Amherst office. The time has come for me to step out of the role of CEO, shift my Northwind work to new priorities, and cultivate next generation leadership. As a company, we have matured over the years and come a long way from the conceptual white boards I scrawled on the walls of a friend’s basement in 2007, My crude “business plan” evolved from educational work (with the Midwest Renewable Energy Association) which fueled my desire to put meaningful green kilowatt hours on the Wisconsin grid to offset fossil fuel use. I engaged a couple of technically proficient business partners in 2008 and we began to offer wind, solar heating, and solar electric to suit the needs of a growing customer base. In the mid-teens we shifted our exclusive focus to solar electric (including battery systems and, now, smart electrification). From the beginning, community involvement was an important corollary to our professional work. My early involvement with the development of the Central Rivers Farmshed and work with the WI Farmer’s Union led to compelling work with and support for local small farms. Until recently, I’ve advised Mid-State Technical College’s renewable energy program since it’s inception in 2008 and we’ve been able to hire graduates of that program consistently since 2010. I’ve served on the Renew WI board of directors since 2019 and helped to create SolarShare WI, a thriving community solar investment cooperative. Part of the Northwind ethos has been distributed management and shared ownership. We formalized that in 2017 when we converted from a partnership to a worker owned cooperative. Employees could buy in, become owners, and share in the financial rewards and governance. In the seven years since there have been challenges, successes, and changes in personnel as we have learned to be a democratic company.


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