2016 ASES (American Solar Energy Society) national Solar Home Tour will be the first Saturday in October, October 1. This year local solar tours are being planned for 11 communities in Michigan: Ann Arbor, Chelsea, Flint, Grand Rapids, Howell, Kalamazoo, Lansing, Midland/Saginaw, St. Josephs, Traverse City, and Ypsilanti. GLREA plays a coordination and facilitation role and the tours depend on local volunteer tour coordinators. As in past years, GLREA will have a Solar Home Tour page on our web page linking to local tour web pages or providing information about local tours. If you’re interested in participating in a local tour or organizing a local tour in your community, please send me a note at email@example.com.
Dave Konkle, former vice-president, is the new president of GLREA and Sarah Mullkoff has been elected vice-president. Cary Church is treasurer and Dan Worth is secretary.
Our Michigan Women in Energy series now includes 10 women who have made a real difference in Michigan promoting clean energy. New additions to our web site include Cathie Hartung, Harvest Energy Solutions, Valerie Brader, Michigan Agency for Energy, Anne Saliers, Holland Board of Public Works, and Liesl Clark, 5 Lakes Energy.
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Patriot Solar Group, (PSG) is a solar mounting systems manufacturer located in Albion. PSG offers a wide range of fixed tilt ground and roof mount systems for residential, commercial and utility scale projects. PSG also offers installation services for any size project in the U.S. including site preparation and excavation, post installation, racking assembly and panel installation. PSG has over 22 years of manufacturing expertise in satellite, antenna and solar industries with over 8 million systems delivered worldwide. www.patriotsolargroup.com.
Rachael Eubanks, director of public finance for Robert W. Baird & Co., has been appointed to the Michigan Public Service Commission by Gov. Snyder. Eubanks fills a partial term vacated by former chairman Quackenbush. Her term will end in July 2017. Eubanks, of East Lansing, has a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Michigan. More details.
$25 Million in Qualified Energy Conservation Bond allocations were made by the State of Michigan to five projects. Five public agencies will benefit from reduced interest rates and substantial energy savings as they finance capital improvements at their facilities. Recipients included City of Battle Creek, City of Holland, Delhi Charter Township, Marysville Public Schools, and South Huron Valley Utility Authority. For more information on QECBs, visit here.
Consumers Energy is planning to install more than 800 charging stations as part of a $15 million statewide program. As part of a broader rate increase request, the program is under consideration by the Michigan Public Service Commission. Consumers is looking to install 60 direct current fast-charge stations and 750 alternating current stations across the state. The fast-charging stations would allow drivers to recharge up to 80% of their battery in about 20 minutes and would be strategically located along major highways at approximately 50-mile intervals. In addition to the network of public charging stations, Consumers also plans to provide its electric customers who purchase an electric vehicle a $1,000 “reimbursement incentive” toward the installation of a 240-volt home-charging station. More details.
Dave Strenski has shared with us the latest SolarYpsi video by Cameron Getto. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oYdA_8NIzfI
Michigan Green Communities Network (MGC) has recognized 22 communities for clean energy and environmental leadership. The MGC is a partnership of the Michigan Municipal League, Michigan Assoc. of Counties, and Michigan Townships Assoc. The Green Communities Challenge, originally launched in 2009, has been revised and will now happen annually. Participating local governments have been awarded Gold, Silver, and Bronze “medals” and this year’s gold medalists were City of Ann Arbor, City of Dearborn, and Delhi Charter Township. More details.
President Obama, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto have announced a combined goal for the 3 countries to reach 50% clean power by 2025. To support the goal, the leaders plan initiatives that include 5,000 MW of cross-border transmission projects, a joint study of the opportunities and impacts of adding more renewables, and the greening of government operations to 100% clean energy by 2025. These efforts will help all three countries meet their commitments under the Paris agreement. More details.
United Wind continues to pick up money from oil companies expanding their clean energy investments. French oil major Total announced an undisclosed equity investment in United Wind. This follows a $3 million investment from the Norwegian oil company Statoil in March. United Wind was formed in 2013 to streamline the development of small wind using leases or power-purchase agreements for projects below 100 kW. In January, United Wind expanded its 20-year lease offering from New York into Colorado and Kansas. The company is now installing three to five turbines per week. The cost of a 50 kW system has fallen to $3 per watt on average, and the cost of a 100 kW turbine has dropped to $2 per watt. More details.
Mortgage Giant Fannie Mae has unlocked the lowest cost of capital for new solar installations to date. This follows the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD’s) recent decision to finance new solar installations within a first mortgage transaction. Fannie Mae’s HomeStyle Energy Mortgage currently offers a mid-three percent range fixed rate. To date, this market is the largest untapped source of low-cost capital that the solar industry can leverage. More details.
Minnesota has become the first state in the nation to adopt a “value of solar” approach for determining how community solar customers will be paid. The state’s public utility commission agreed to use the value of solar methodology – currently voluntary for utilities – as part of a ruling on changes proposed to the state’s community solar garden program. The value of solar approach includes external factors such as avoided transmission investments, health and environmental impact of clean energy and the ability to help the grid meet large demand on sunny days when extra power is needed. More details.
Building Big Solar Across Ohio sponsored by Green Energy Ohio will be held in Bowling Green on August 25, 8:30-4:30. This second annual conference discussing Ohio’s largest solar arrays and the emerging issue of community solar will feature expert speakers, green expo trade show, and a viewing of Ohio’s largest utility-scale array under construction at Bowling Green. More details.
Michigan Sustainability Conference (MISCON) will be held on Sept. 14 at the Eberhard Center in Grand Rapids. The Michigan Dept. of Environmental Quality in collaboration with the West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum and the Great Lakes Region Pollution Prevention Round Table present the first ever MISCON designed to engage business professionals around the topic of sustainability. More details.
Solar Home Tour will be October 1, the first Saturday in October. The tour will be held in communities throughout Michigan. Additional information coming soon.
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