Solar Energy Jobs in Michigan is fourth largest in the country, according to a report by the Solar Foundation. As of August, 6,300 workers in the state were spending at least half of their time designing, manufacturing, selling, installing or maintaining solar energy systems. Only California, Pennsylvania and Texas had more workers employed in this booming sector. Michigan has 76 solar energy businesses, far fewer than many other leading states. Many of Michigan’s solar jobs are generated by two large companies, Hemlock Semiconductor and United Solar. www.thesolarfoundation.org/
California still ranks at the top of the North American PV market with a total installed capacity of 768 MW, but New Jersey and Ontario are jockeying for the leading position as the top PV growth market. In 2009, Ontario installed 48 MW and trails only California, New Jersey (128 MW), and Colorado (59 MW). As much as 200 MW of PV could be installed in Ontario this year. According to New Jersey’s Clean Energy program, 125 MW of capacity will be installed in the state by the end of the year if the current pace holds up, bringing total installed capacity in New Jersey to nearly 250 MW.
Ostermann family from Michigan was one of 3 families from across the country who were selected as winners of the Anybody Can Serve, So Let’s Conserve 30-60-90 Day Challenge pilot program, a way to promote energy efficiency with ordinary families. Under the program, families from across the country competed against each other to see which could conserve the most energy over the April, May, and June period. The Ostermanns reduced their utility bills by more than 42% and were the overall winner. The winners from Michigan, Delaware, and Maryland, will get all or part of their utility bills paid for the months of April-June.
Monroe County Community College is set to go solar as DTE Energy soon begins installing 500 kW of PV panels on the South Raisinville Road campus. Groundbreaking on the $3 million project is scheduled for Nov. 15. The college is the first educational institution to take part in the utility’s $100 million pilot program, SolarCurrents. The solar energy systems will be owned, installed, operated, and maintained by the utility. The college will get an annual credit on its energy bill, as well as a one-time, upfront construction payment to cover any inconvenience during installation. The community college is looking at the project to help develop solar training and study programs.
Retired Engineer Technical Assistance Program (RETAP) is partnering with Michigan State University to provide energy audits to rural small businesses under a USDA REAP grant. For a limited time, RETAP can provide energy audits to 15 rural small businesses. A $250 payment to MSU is required for the energy audit as required under the 2008 Farm Bill. Contact David Herb, RETAP Manager, at (517) 241-8176 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Industrial Plants in Michigan with at least 500 billion Btu’s annual energy use can receive no-cost Save Energy Now (SEN) energy assessments and follow-up technical assistance from the Michigan Industrial Energy Center (MIEC). SEN assessments when implemented can typically lead to energy savings of 6–10%. Contact Dr. Arvind Atreya at (734) 647 4790 or email@example.com.
Energy Efficient City of the Future was a big attraction at Japan’s premier electronics show. The Combined Exhibition of Advanced Technologies had a vision of urban life in 2020 and beyond. The Japanese version of the so-called “smart city” exists in a post-fossil fuel world that uses the sun, wind and nuclear power. That power is distributed to buildings, homes and electric cars connected to each other through “smart grids.” Japan hopes the “smart city” will become its next big export. The city of Yokohama, just southwest of Tokyo, is the site of a five-year, social and infrastructure experiment to create a smart city for the rest of the world to emulate. Japan is not alone. Australia has committed $100 million and is developing its first commercial-scale smart grid in Newcastle. South Korea is embarking on a $200 billion smart grid project on Jeju Island. China is expected to invest $7.3 billion toward smart grids in 2010, ahead of Washington’s $7.1 billion in DOE grants.
Plymouth Cultural Center and Ice Arena has installed a geothermal heating and cooling system and the savings are already running into the thousands of dollars. Steve Anderson, the city’s recreation director, says the 2008 and 2009 September gas bills were $4,600 and $4,100; last month’s was about $800. The $1.1 million project was paid for by the city’s general fund.
HelioFocus & Capstone have demonstrated using a solar system to drive a microturbine. The demonstration in Israel was conducted with a Capstone C65 microturbine on a fixed optical tower using heliostats. The traditional Capstone microturbine uses gaseous or liquid fuels to heat combustion air. The HelioFocus Solar Concentrator focuses enough sunlight energy to provide heat to drive the microturbine. The concept scales to all Capstone microturbine products from 30 kW to 5 MW.
Google, Good Energies, and Marubeni Corp. have proposed the construction of the Atlantic Wind Connection (AWC). The project would be a series of offshore wind turbines in the Atlantic that would connect to transmission nodes on land, distributing about 6,000 MW of power to the congested mid-Atlantic states. Google notes that the area is uniquely suited to offshore wind because of the extended shallow waters. Trans-Elect, the company that will head construction of the project, will be able to build turbines as much as 15 miles offshore.
Biomass Waste to Energy Summit will be held on December 7, 8:00 am to 5:00 pm at the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center, MSU. DELEG is hosting a one day summit in collaboration with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and MSU focused on the opportunities, challenges and crucial next steps in securing a thriving biomass-waste-to-energy industry in Michigan. The event will highlight recent projects, lessons learned and strategies for moving forward. Registration will start mid-November. www.michigan.gov/energyoffice
GreenERville Project is a partnership between Uni-Solar, City of Greenville, and Greenville Public Schools. Uni-Solar modules will be installed on a total of five city-owned properties, plus two schools — totaling nearly 500 kW. The power has been turned on at Lincoln Heights Elementary, Greenville High School, and City Hall/Public Safety Complex. The city airport, waste water treatment plant, city well field and Greenville Community Center are next on the list. Greenville has two Uni-Solar manufacturing plants.
Consumers Energy has provided $116,000 in energy efficiency incentives to 13 non-profit agencies throughout the Lower Peninsula. The incentives were used for 29 energy efficiency projects involving 27 facilities in 19 cities. Agencies receiving incentives included Goodwill, Salvation Army, Habitat for Humanity, United Way agencies, YMCA organizations, Flint Housing Commission, World Mission and several food banks. By having energy efficient lighting installed, the agencies will save a combined total of more than 1.4 million kWh’s annually and achieve a 26% reduction in their electric usage. www.consumersenergy.com
5,300 Charging Stations are planned to be installed in Michigan as the state prepares for electric vehicles. DTE Energy pledges to install 2,500 240-volt home charging stations for plug-in vehicles, and Consumers Energy is matching that pledge. The utilities will cover up to $2,500 of the cost of the charging station and installation. Lansing Board of Water and Light will provide 25 charging stations to its customers. General Motors plans to have almost 350 charging stations in place for employees at its facilities in Michigan, with more than 100 already installed. GM-installed charging stations will include 34 at the Detroit-Hamtramck assembly center where the Volt is built and 140 in the homes of employees. Many of the stations at GM plants and offices will be powered by solar energy. The Detroit-Hamtramck assembly center already has 10 stations in place powered by PV systems from SunLogics. Envision Solar International will provide its Solar Tree with EnvisionTrak system for use at the Warren Technical Center and Milford Proving Ground. https://nextenergy.groupsite.com/link/go/83758974
GLREA’s 2010 Annual Meeting will be taking place on Saturday December 4th 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm at Connor O’Neils, Celtic Room, 318 S. Main St, Ann Arbor. www.glrea.org
Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority which runs the transit system in Philadelphia, is piloting a smart grid technology that could cut its electricity bills by up to 40% and generate millions of dollars a year. A massive battery installed at one of the authority’s substations will store electricity generated by the braking systems on trains (as the trains slow down the wheels drive generators). The battery will help trains accelerate, cutting power consumption, and will also provide extra power that can be sold back to the power grid. The pilot project is expected to bring in $500,000 a year.
East Michigan Chapter of the Association of Energy Engineers will be meeting on November 9th in Rm C406 of the Alfred Taubman Student Service Center at Lawrence Tech. Meeting is Free to Chapter Members and $25 for guests. Meeting begins at 5 pm , with dinner at 6 pm followed by a presentation. www.emaee.org
I have worked in the Michigan Energy Office for 35 years and been writing Energy Tidbits for over 15 years. I have retired effective November 1, 2010. It has been my pleasure to keep you informed about all the energy happenings in Michigan and beyond. I still plan to stay involved in promoting renewable energy and energy efficiency. Until our paths cross again…….John Sarver
Source: Michigan Dept. of Energy, Labor, & Economic Growth (DELEG)
Prepared By: John Sarver