Renewable System Design + Installation

We are a full service installer of renewable energy, high efficiency radiant heating systems and more recently urban design. We specialize in consultation, creative design and installation of solar electric, solar thermal and unique heating systems. We have provided service for over thirty years to the greater Chippewa Valley region of Western Wisconsin. To learn more about the full range of services we provide, please visit our ‘projects’ tab.

“I’ve enjoyed working with Zeus and his team at Next Step Energy. Over the last decade they have installed and maintained two photovoltaic arrays, radiant-floor high-efficiency heating, solar hot water and small wind for my off-grid home. They are creative, thorough and flexible, and I’ve been very happy with the quality of their work.”

- G. Abert

Our Services

Site assessments

An assessment is a study of the potential installation that you will live with for the next 40 plus years. Solar site assessments are designed to provide you with site-specific information about how a solar system can address your energy needs. The documentation from a solar energy site assessor will determine a suitable location for your system and give an overview of the options available relative to your existing conditions.

Design

Solar Arrays are meant to stand for a long time, so they should work and look good.  Our services include the design of great looking, site specific installations.  We started as a company building solar arrays and radiant heat systems.  Since we have always designed our architectural components in house, it was natural for us to incorporate design thinking in our office.  We’re staffing an urban designer to assist with finding ways to create integrated site installations, plan the space under the solar array for other purposes and even create functional solar art. 

Installation

As your renewable energy and heating contractor, we coordinate the complete design and installation of your system. We will work with your general contractor, plumber and electrician as necessary to ensure our installation is done in phase with the construction process and meets all applicable building codes. We offer installation services within our service territory.

Consultation

We offer creative, site integrated solutions for your renewable energy and heating needs.  We can design to help to visualize the finished project from concept though construction.   Whether you are building a new home or planning a remodeling project, we can use your floor plans to design a system suited for your needs.

Service and repairs

We service and repair all of the systems we install including: solar electric, solar domestic hot water, boilers, tankless water heaters, gas appliances and generators. We offer high quality, durable products that should not require frequent repairs, but in the event that a failure does occur in one of our custom systems, we can provide prompt service. Some components of our systems do require occasional routine maintenance to ensure long-term, reliable functionality. The owner’s manuals and manufacturer information that we provide to you include information about these routine checks. Much of this routine maintenance can be performed by the homeowner. Please contact us to schedule needed routine service work.

Parts to sell and install

We offer parts for all of the products we sell and install. Please contact us for pricing and availability.

Client Testimonials

“Zeus and the guys at Next Step Energy took a look at my storage shed and said, “Lets put the PV panels on the roof of that!”  But, the building didn’t face due south.  So, they said, “Let’s turn the building to face the sun!”  Everything that they said would work did, and I sit on my porch and enjoy what they have done and reap the benefits of a great looking PV system. Five years ago I had them install a solar hot water system and I highly recommend Next Step Energy.  They are also great fun to be around.”
– M. Buchholz

“We had wanted to install a PV system for several years but without Next Step Energy, we never would have secured the USDA and Focus on Energy Grants that made our dream a reality. Next Step built our system under terrible winter conditions, and it has run flawlessly since commissioned on February 11, 2010, and produced power beyond our expectations.”
- J. and B. Bacon Arctic Supply Inc.

“We have worked with Next Step Energy many times in the past and continue to trust them on our renewable energy projects.”
- B. and J. Holman

“Next Step designed and installed two Solar PV systems, one 8kW and one 2.5kW at my home. They also redesigned my existing solar thermal heating system to make it more efficient. Zeus and his staff are very knowledgeable and pay attention to details.”
- M. Wise

Learn more about our services »
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NEW Phoenix Community Pavilion, Construction Administration
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NEW Phoenix Community Pavilion, Construction Administration
NEW Residence, Menomonie » 6.0kW
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NEW Residence, Menomonie » 6.0kW
NEW CVTC, Eau Claire » ‘Around the Solar Tree’
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NEW CVTC, Eau Claire » ‘Around the Solar Tree’
NEW Residence, Black River Falls » 3.0kW
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NEW Residence, Black River Falls » 3.0kW
IN PROGRESS Public Pavilion, Eau Claire Community Gardens » Design Services
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IN PROGRESS Public Pavilion, Eau Claire Community Gardens » Design Services
NEW Solar Awning, Eau Claire » 3.5kW
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NEW Solar Awning, Eau Claire » 3.5kW
NEW Residence, Solar Shed, Eau Claire » 3kW
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NEW Residence, Solar Shed, Eau Claire » 3kW
NEW Residence, Eau Claire » 9.75kW
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NEW Residence, Eau Claire » 9.75kW
NEW Residence, Knapp » 15kW
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NEW Residence, Knapp » 15kW
NEW Residence, Menomonie » 3kW and Solar Water
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NEW Residence, Menomonie » 3kW and Solar Water
Augusta Elementary School » 9kW
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Augusta Elementary School » 9kW
IN PROGRESS » 3kW Solar Tree Canopy © copyright 2012
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IN PROGRESS » 3kW Solar Tree Canopy © copyright 2012
IN PROGRESS » .75kW Solar Bike Rack with LED lighting © copyright 2012
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IN PROGRESS » .75kW Solar Bike Rack with LED lighting © copyright 2012
Residence, De Soto » Solar Hot Tub
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Residence, De Soto » Solar Hot Tub
NEW Residence, Eau Claire » 5kW
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NEW Residence, Eau Claire » 5kW
Residence, New Auburn » 7.54kW
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Residence, New Auburn » 7.54kW
NEW Chicken House Shed, Deer Park » 14kW
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NEW Chicken House Shed, Deer Park » 14kW
NEW Homested Senior Village Apartments, Chippewa Falls » 19.35kW
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NEW Homested Senior Village Apartments, Chippewa Falls » 19.35kW
NEW Residence, Elmwood » 2kW
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NEW Residence, Elmwood » 2kW
IN PROGRESS » Solar Tree Forest © copyright 2012
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IN PROGRESS » Solar Tree Forest © copyright 2012
NEW Residence, Fall Creek » 5kW
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NEW Residence, Fall Creek » 5kW
NEW Residence, Bruce » 2kW
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NEW Residence, Bruce » 2kW
Residence, Eau Claire » Solar Hot Water
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Residence, Eau Claire » Solar Hot Water
Arctic Glass, Elmwood » 12kW
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Arctic Glass, Elmwood » 12kW
Simply Dunn, Downsville » 12kW
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Simply Dunn, Downsville » 12kW
Residence, Elmwood » 4kW
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Residence, Elmwood » 4kW
Residence, Eau Claire » 2kW
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Residence, Eau Claire » 2kW
Residence, Birchwood » Solar Hot Water
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Residence, Birchwood » Solar Hot Water
Residence, Augusta  » Solar Heat & Hot Water
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Residence, Augusta » Solar Heat & Hot Water
Valley Villas, Eau Claire » Solar Hot Water
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Valley Villas, Eau Claire » Solar Hot Water
Chicken House, Fall Creek >> 4kW
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Chicken House, Fall Creek >> 4kW
Residence, Boyceville » 1.84kW
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Residence, Boyceville » 1.84kW
Residence, Augusta » Solar Hot Water
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Residence, Augusta » Solar Hot Water
Residence, Whitehall  » Solar Heat & Hot Water
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Residence, Whitehall » Solar Heat & Hot Water
Residence, Prairie Farm  » Solar Heat & Hot Water
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Residence, Prairie Farm » Solar Heat & Hot Water
Residence, Colby » 9.8kW
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Residence, Colby » 9.8kW
Residence, Wheeler » 1.84kW
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Residence, Wheeler » 1.84kW
Residence, Hill Point » 2kW, Solar Hot Water
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Residence, Hill Point » 2kW, Solar Hot Water
Chippewa Valley Homebuilders, Eau Claire » 1.08kW
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Chippewa Valley Homebuilders, Eau Claire » 1.08kW
Residence, Eau Claire » 1.14kW
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Residence, Eau Claire » 1.14kW
Residence, Black River Falls  » Solar Heat & Hot Water
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Residence, Black River Falls » Solar Heat & Hot Water
NEW Chippewa Valley Technical College, Wood Technics Program River Falls » Solar Hot Water
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NEW Chippewa Valley Technical College, Wood Technics Program River Falls » Solar Hot Water
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Products

Solar Heating Kits and Parts

Next Step Energy offers kits for solar heating including solar hot air and solar thermal space heating.  We choose locally manufactured components whenever possible; however, we can design around specific products at your preference.

Some Solar Heating products we use:

 

 

Solar Hot Water Components

Next Step Energy provides custom designed kits to meet your water heating needs.  In addition to our services as system designers and drafters we can provide assistance with your designs and schematics for applications including:

  • Pools
  • Hot tubs
  • Large commercial hot water
  • Unique solar water heating applications
  • Individual components and/or repair parts

 

Solar Electric Kits

Photovoltaic (PV) Kits include installation instructions and essential system components like charge controllers, disconnect switches, fuses, and other balance-of-system components.

  • 1.5 kW to 3 kW Pole Mounted PV Kits
  • 2 kW to 6 kW Ground Mounted PV Kits
  • grid-tied  systems
  • off-grid systems
  • solar water-pumping station
  • solar lighting kits
  • unique solar electric application
  • custom fabricated solar arrays (example at right)

 

Solar Electric Components

We choose locally manufactured components whenever possible, however we can design around specific products at your preference.   Whether you're looking for:

 

 

Water Heaters

Indirect Fired Water Heaters

Indirect water heaters are storage tanks for water that is heated in another location. The water can be heated by a boiler system or a solar system. These indirect water heaters can easily be incorporated with a gas or wood boiler and are a standard feature of our solar domestic hot water systems.

Conventional Water Heaters

We design and install small-scale heating and domestic hot water systems incorporating conventional water heaters. In certain conditions, by combining the radiant heating and domestic hot water into one system, a person may save a considerable amount of money compared with using two separate systems for heating and hot water.

 

Radiant Heating

As installers of Radiant Heating systems, we offer a complete range of hydronic heating components including:

  • PEX tubing
  • circulating pumps from Grundfos, Taco, El Sid
  • custom manifolds
  • valves
  • fittings
  • boilers
  • panel radiators from DiaNorm, Slant Fin, and others

We also offer customized tubing layout diagrams based on the floor plans of your new home or remodeling project.

Gas and Wood Boilers

The Knight Boiler

The Knight boiler is a line of residential gas boilers manufactured by Lochinvar, a trusted name and leader in commercial water heating systems.  Their line of boilers is extremely efficient, easy to install, easy to control and operates very quietly.  In low temperature radiant heating applications, it has an efficiency over 98%, which means tremendous savings on heating costs compared with conventional boiler systems.  Visit Lochinvar to find out more about the Knight boiler.

Tarm Wood Gasification Boilers

Tarm wood gasification boilers compared with conventional wood burning stoves or outdoor wood boilers are more efficient, cleaner burning, more convenient to operate and safer. The gasification process has very little soot and particulate matter to build up in the chimney, practically eliminating the risk of chimney fires. The automatic damper control makes the unit extremely safe and easy to operate from the comfort of your home. For more product details please visit  Tarm USA .
Electric Boilers

Thermolec Modulating Electric Boilers

Ranging in output from 5 kW to 23 kW, Thermolec boilers are designed to easily install on the wall, requiring minimal space. These boilers are equipped with an adjustable electronic aquastat with a wide range of temperatures (80°F to 180°F) to suit many hydronic heating needs. The boilers are also equipped with an outdoor reset control which adjusts the hot water temperature on mild days to increase indoor comfort and save energy. For more product details please visit Thermolec.

Slant/Fin Electric Boilers

Slant/Fin's Monitron cast-iron electric boiler is available in sizes from 8 kW to 40 kW. It's higher output capacity than the Thermolec makes it suited to small commercial and industrial applications. For more product details visit  Slant/Fin.
Generators
In an off-grid context, backup generators make sense for extended sun-free days, occasional large loads for equipment or entertaining guests. By designing a smaller system to meet your normal day-to-day needs and including backup power for occasional use, you can save significantly on your system cost.  Backup generators are also common in grid connected homes for customers that wish to have energy security of automatic backup generation in the event of a power failure.

Yanmar Diesel Generators

We offer Yanmar generators in 3.7 kW and 5.5 kW sizes. These are industrial grade generators with superior durability and reliability. They feature low noise and vibration design and are very fuel efficient compared to other manufacturer's products.  These units are available in 120 or 240 Volt output to power a full range of electrical devices. The generators come standard with electric and recoil starting.  
Appliances

Sun Frost Refrigerators

Sun Frost manufactures the world's most energy efficient refrigerators.  They are well  suited for off-grid homes and for grid tied applications.  Their efficient use of energy helps reduce the size and cost of a solar system compared with conventional appliances. All Sun Frost refrigerator models are available in 12 and 24 Volt DC and 120 and 240 Volt AC versions.  For more product details please visit the Sun Frost.

Premier Gas Ranges

We offer many styles of gas ranges available from Peerless-Premier Appliance Co. Contact us for more information.