Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is the MREA?
  2. What is the vision of the MREA?
  3. What is the organizational status of the MREA?
  4. What does the MREA do?
  5. Who are the members of the MREA?
  6. How is the MREA funded?
  7. What other information about the MREA is available?
  8. Do you offer link exchanges?


What is the MREA?

The Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA) promotes renewable energy, energy efficiency, and sustainable living through education and demonstration. The MREA is working to protect the environment by educating the public about appropriate use of natural resources to meet our energy needs.

What is the vision of the MREA?

The MREA will provide the highest quality renewable energy education and training experiences available. Our programs and services will respond to evolving energy issues, empower people to make wise lifestyle choices, and be accessible to the broadest possible audience. We will share our success with other like-minded organizations, recognizing that we are stronger when we all work together for our common goals.

What is the organizational status of the MREA?

The MREA is a non-profit 501(C)3 tax-exempt organization. The organization was incorporated in March of 1990 in the state of Wisconsin.

What does the MREA do?

The MREA promotes renewable energy through education and demonstration.

MREA events and initiatives include:

  • The Energy Fair: Each year, on the third weekend in June, thousands of people travel to the MREA to attend The Energy Fair. This is the longest running clean energy and sustainability event in the nation and offers programs for all ages and knowledge levels. Powered by renewable energy systems, The Energy Fair offers the chance to see over 200 businesses and non-profit organizations representing a large spectrum of energy and environmental services including: renewable energy and energy efficient products, environmental advocacy groups, and educational organizations. Over 250 workshops are offered each year at The Energy Fair and they are taught by experts and educators in the renewable energy field providing participants with a one of a kind learning experience. The Energy Fair provides attendees with all of the resources to learn, connect, and take action towards a sustainable future.
  • ReNew the Earth Institute (REI): The (REI) is MREA's demonstration site, educational facility, and MREA headquarters. The REI is powered by a team of working renewable energy systems including Solar Electric (PV), Solar Domestic Hot Water, Solar Hot Air, Wind, electric vehicle charging, masonry stove heater, and educational displays. We continue to work toward a net zero campus. Visit us at the REI and take a guided or self-guided tour or host an event!
  • Regional Offices: In July 2008, we opened our MREA Milwaukee office to increase training and education opportunities in southeast Wisconsin and beyond. The MREA Milwaukee office is located within Escuela Verde at 3628 W Pierce St., and it allows us to collaborate with like-missioned organizations in the creation of group purchasing programs for solar energy. The programs help drive down costs of going solar for home and business owners in the Milwaukee area leading to dozens of solar installations in and around the city! In 2015, we expanded our reach to Minnesota, opening an office in the Neighborhood Energy Connection office in Saint Paul. Interested in going solar? Here's how: Grow SolarPower PackSolar Group Buy
    Solar Power Hour(sm).
  • Courses The MREA is a nationally accredited technical training provider for solar electricity (PV), solar thermal heating, small wind energy systems and sustainable building. We have courses for all levels of learning, from novice to industry professional. Courses are available throughout the Midwest and many are accessible online. Course participants come from varied backgrounds including: homeowners, builders, educators, architects, engineers, and more. Participants can receive Continuing Education Credits (CECs) for attending approved courses. Advance your project or career with MREA courses!
  • Site Assessor Certificate Program: The MREA Site Assessment Certificate is available in three technologies (PV, Wind, and Solar Domestic Hot Water) and is an entry-level credential. The certificate verifies MREA course completion, as well as satisfactory completion of site assessment program requirements. Those that hold certificates have completed the required MREA training, have had two practice assessments approved by a technology mentor, and have passed a site assessment exam for a specific renewable energy technology.
  • The Midwest Grow Solar Partnership: The Grow Solar Partnership began in 2012 with funding from the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot InitiativeThe SunShot Initiative is a collaborative national initiative to make solar energy cost competitive with other forms of energy by the end of the decade. With initial successes in reducing PV systems permitting and inspection costs in three Wisconsin cities, the MREA expanded efforts in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa, and Michigan to 1) facilitate the adoption of solar permitting, planning, and zoning best practices by municipalities, 2) develop model finance arrangements for solar installations, 3) build workforce capacity to properly design, sell, and interconnect code-compliant PV systems, and 4) improve rules, standards and policies to provide a framework for sustainable solar market growthThrough Grow Solar and a partnership with the City of Milwaukee, 
    the MREA founded the Power Pack, and Solar Power Hour(sm). Both programs
    are designed to educate consumers about the benefits of solar energy, 
    how to go solar, and create a unique solar purchasing program to connect
    with local solar installers and manufacturers.
  • The Solar University Network (SUN): With nearly $450 billion in foundation investments, US universities represent a large potential source of investment to advance the growing clean energy market nationwide. Investment in solar photovoltaic (PV) systems can provide myriad benefits to universities including energy savings, applied learning, research, resiliency, investment diversification, advancement of sustainability goals, and further engagement of alumni and donors. To help university stakeholders realize these benefits, the MREA is piloting an approach with four Midwest universities that leverages the experience of our national solar technical assistance team. Through professional development events, the facilitation of campus solar development teams, training, and direct technical assistance, the MREA is supporting teams at the University of Minnesota, Illinois State University, Purdue University, and Missouri University of Science and Technology to define roadmaps for on and off-campus solar investment.
  • Solar Tour: As a chapter of the American Solar Energy Society, the MREA hosts a fall tour of homes and businesses throughout Wisconsin. Buildings on the tour demonstrate renewable energy systems, energy efficient construction, and alternative/green building techniques.
  • Newsletter: eReNews is a monthly e-newsletter that includes articles on energy policy, upcoming events, a job board, and general information on the MREA and its activities.

Who are the members of the MREA?

The MREA currently has over 2,500 active members from around the world, representing 39 states and three foreign countries. There are a variety of membership levels designed to accommodate different needs and budgets – from students to businesses. When you join MREA as a member you become a key player in moving the MREA mission forward. Join the MREA today!

How is the MREA funded?

The MREA attempts to maintain a diverse income stream. Funding for our work comes from program fees, federal cooperative agreements, contracts, member support, donations, and sponsorship. All donations are welcome, tax deductible, and can be designated for specific projects.

What other information about the MREA is available?

We would be happy to send you more information about our organization. The following brochures and materials are available:

Do you offer link exchanges?

Although we appreciate link exchange offers, at this time, we only put links for our business members on our website. This is a benefit to those who have a business membership with the MREA.