Focus on Energy: Putting the Sun in Sundae


Robyn Grossman / Tim Wirtz

Hoffman York

414-225-9520 / 414-225-9522
[email protected]

[email protected]

– Solar energy works to improve the bottom line of Wisconsin business –

Most people would say that ice cream and the sun don’t mix, however, for Guy Janssen, owner of Emy J’s in Stevens Point, Wis., they make for a wonderful combination. About two months ago, Janssen had a solar hot water system installed at his popular ice cream and coffee shop. The system has a 200 gallon holding tank and, depending on the weather, is able to meet all of the shop’s hot water needs.

“My business uses a lot of energy. I saw our utility bills going up and up, and I knew it wasn’t going to get better unless I did something about it,” said Janssen. “Besides the concern for my business’s bottom line, I’ve always been concerned about the environment, so I decided to do something to better both, and a renewable energy system was the way to go.”

According to Janssen, once he decided to take the first step and call Focus on Energy, the entire process, from the education to the paper work, was tremendously easy. “I was pleasantly surprised to find out that Focus on Energy’s Renewable Energy Program offered financial incentives on top of its technical expertise,” added Janssen. “The incentives available make a huge difference to small business owners like myself.”

Like Janssen, Wisconsin residents who combine Focus on Energy financial incentives with federal tax credits find that reducing energy costs is more affordable than ever. The cost of Janssen’s solar hot water system was $12,138; however, because of a $2,506 Cash-Back Reward from Focus on Energy and a $3,000 federal tax credit, the system is expected to pay for itself in less than six years. Just as it helped Janssen, Focus on Energy is ready to share in the cost of installing or investigating renewable energy systems with financial incentives and grants. By doing so, it is the program’s goal to increase the number of renewable energy systems at work across Wisconsin.

“Focus on Energy has a network of experts across the state and offers a variety of programs to help anyone plan, finance and install renewable energy systems,” said Don Wichert, program director for Focus on Energy’s Renewable Energy Program. “Because of this, a growing number of Wisconsin residents are using renewable energy, and not only for their businesses – some are incorporating it in their homes.”

Janssen is one of those individuals who have decided to incorporate renewable energy not only at his business, but at his home as well. “I’m in the process of building a new home, and even though I’ve always been interested in incorporating solar power in my home, I’ve become even more determined after my experience with renewable energy at my business,” said Janssen.

With the help of Focus on Energy, Janssen will integrate passive solar heat, a solar hot water system and a solar electric system into his home. In fact, Janssen expects these systems to cover 100 percent of his electrical needs, allowing him to sell the excess electricity back to the utility company. The project’s cost is expected to pay for itself in approximately ten years.

“For me, using renewable energy should be a no brainer,” said Janssen. “With all the financial and technical assistance available, I wish I would have done it earlier. There may be an upfront cost, but these systems are built to last a long time, and with energy costs always on the rise the payback periods are getting shorter.”

To learn more about Focus on Energy and its Renewable Energy Program, or to find out if your company qualifies for financial incentives call 800.762.7077 or visit

About the Focus on Energy Renewable Energy Program

Focus on Energy is a public-private partnership that provides energy efficiency and renewable energy information and services to the state’s energy utility customers. Focus on Energy’s Renewable Energy Program seeks to raise awareness, provide training and financing, enhance marketing, promote technical assistance and support the installation of renewable energy technologies across Wisconsin. For information about the program, call 800.762.7077 or visit .