Heckrodt Wetland Reserve Nature Center: Goes solar with grant from Solar for Good


Heather Allen

Program Director

RENEW Wisconsin

608-255-4044 ext. 7 (office)

202-243-9847 (cell)

Heckrodt Wetland Reserve Nature Center: Goes solar with grant from Solar for Good 

Menasha, WI – On Friday October 26th, at 10:30 AM the Heckrodt Wetland Reserve together with Menasha Mayor Don Merkes, local school children, solar installer Eland Electric, RENEW Wisconsin and other local partners will celebrate its recent installation of solar panels. 

Eland Electric completed the installation of the 19.6 kilowatt (kW) system in August.  The system has already offset over 5000 pounds of CO2 emissions or the equivalent of planting 126 trees! The solar system was a true community effort: several organizations provided grant financing and local businesses contributed labor and supplies.

“Heckrodt Wetland Reserve is excited to include energy conservation in our environmental message.  The Renew Wisconsin Solar for Good grant allowed us to double the size of our solar array, permitting us to practice our Earth Day Every Day message,” said Tracey Koening, Executive Director of Heckrodt Wetland Reserve.

The Heckrodt Wetland Reserve received $10,000 of grant funding from Solar for Good to assist the nonprofit organization with installing solar panels. Solar for Good, an initiative from the renewable energy advocates at RENEW Wisconsin is funded by philanthropists Cal and Laurie Couillard of Deerfield, WI and additional donors.  Focus on Energy, and WPPI Energy provided grants to help build the solar array. Eland Electric donated labor for the installation. The remaining balance for the project was funded by grants secured by Heckrodt Wetland Reserve.

Menasha Mayor Don Merkes said of the project, “The addition of solar generation will enhance the education and environmental stewardship legacy that Heckrodt Wetland Reserve has nourished for nearly 25 years.”


Heather Allen, Program Director of RENEW Wisconsin said, “Heckrodt’s investment in solar power and energy efficiency is an example of how a community can build value by working together.  The partners involved in this project went above and beyond to help reduce Heckrodt’s electricity costs and ensure sustainability for this treasured wetland education center.”


“Heckrodt provides an outstanding educational opportunity to the community on the

importance of our natural wetlands and helping them reduce their annual operating costs with

renewable energy ensures they can educate the community for years to come,” said Jessie Michalski, Owner of Eland Electric.

The installation of the solar array was part of a major sustainability upgrade on the nature center. Heckrodt installed a sustainable steel roof, steel siding and trim and has conducted a complete LED lighting upgrade, HVAC upgrade, and plans to be upgrading the insulation in the nature center. Temperature Systems Inc. provided free of charge all the equipment to upgrade the HVAC for Heckrodt and Modern Sheet Metal donated all of the labor and required materials to install the equipment. 

In the first two rounds of funding, Solar for Good has provided grants to 24 nonprofit organizations across Wisconsin, including a food pantry, a shelter for homeless veterans, and several houses of worship. When all the projects are completed, the grants will have supported over $1.6 million in solar investment and 730 kW of new solar electric projects to the state which is equivalent to the amount of energy needed to power 146 average WI homes.

How to Apply

Organizations can learn more and apply HERE.  The next round of Solar for Good funding opens October 1, 2018 and applications are due on November 13, 2018.  Decisions and funding announcements will be made by Monday, November 26, 2018.

The grant program will fund up to 20% of the cost of a solar array, with a grant cap of $10,000 for solar arrays sized less than 75 kW and a grant cap of $20,000 for arrays 75 kW and above.

About RENEW Wisconsin
RENEW Wisconsin is a nonprofit organization which promotes renewable energy in Wisconsin. We work on policies and programs that support solar power, wind power, biogas, local hydropower, and geothermal energy. More information on RENEW’s website: www.renewwisconsin.org