American Solar Energy Society’s (ASES) National Solar Home Tour is the world’s largest grassroots solar event. The Great Lakes Renewable Energy Assoc., the Michigan state chapter of ASES, assists volunteer coordinators who organize community tours that you can attend. Now in its 21th year, this event offers you the opportunity to tour innovative green homes and buildings to see how you can use solar energy, energy efficiency, and other sustainable technologies. Tours are being planned for 12 Michigan communities. www.glrea.org
Do you shop at Amazon? Sign into SmileAmazon when you shop and GLREA will receive a 0.5% donation for each of your eligible purchases.
J. Ranck Electric (JRE), a family business with its roots in Mt. Pleasant, has become a national presence in electrical and communications contracting over the last 30 years. JRE specializes in constructing utility-scale solar arrays, with a total of over 172 MW of solar installed or currently in progress. Right now, the JRE Team is building the largest utility-owned solar array east of the Mississippi River in Lapeer. When this 60 MW system is complete, it will be nearly 10 times larger than any other solar installation in Michigan. www.jranck.com
University of Michigan Solar Car team has successfully defended their decade-long championship – winning the 2016 American Solar Challenge for the sixth consecutive time. Despite nearly sunless conditions in the final two days, UM crossed the finish line on August 6 in South Dakota. The race, which happens every other year on a different course, began in Ohio on July 30. Michigan raced against 23 other teams of college students. More details.
Cherryland Electric Cooperative has unveiled a revised solar energy program that would give cooperative members 3 options: community solar subscription, “buy-all, sell-all”, or net metering. Under the community solar option, any Wolverine Power cooperative member could subscribe to a 1.2 MW solar array owned by Spartan Renewable Energy. A 335-watt solar panel would cost members $600, or monthly $10 installments for the next 5 years. They would receive 10 cents/kWh for 15 years. The “buy-all, sell-all” option would allow large-scale solar energy producers to sell all their energy to Wolverine for 10 cents/kWh, and separately buy power at the retail rate. Cherryland Electric’s proposed net metering would pay members 5.6 cents/kWh for power put on the grid. Power used on-site would offset the current residential rate of 10.98 cents/kWh. The Wolverine Power Cooperative board of directors will try to reach a final agreement by the end of August. The Cherryland Electric board of directors is slated to make a final decision on its program on Sept. 19. More details.
Galien Oaks Wind project may be the first wind farm in Berrien County. Apex Clean Energy plans to have up to 40 turbines and the official effort to sign landowners to lease agreements has begun. The project went public after the company held a public meeting in Weesaw Township which adopted an ordinance 5 years ago that doesn’t allow any commercial wind farms. Apex is involved in about 60 wind energy projects across the nation, including four in Indiana. More details.
Consumers Energy has started operations at its second Solar Gardens project at Western Michigan University. The one MW project follows a 3 MW project at GVSU.
www.ConsumersEnergy.com/solargardens More details.
Upper Peninsula Power Co. (UPPCO) is the first rate-regulated utility in Michigan to reach its net metering cap under state law. Under state law, net metering programs are capped at 1 percent of a regulated utility’s peak demand, which is further broken down into categories for small- and larger-scale installations. UPPCO is no longer accepting applications from customers for installations less than 20 kW. The major utilities still have 94% (Consumers) and 83% (DTE) of their cap space left. More details
Holland Residents can finance home energy upgrades from insulation to furnaces through a new program that will launch this fall. The on-bill loan program from the Holland Energy Fund will coordinate with the Holland Board of Public Works to help city residents finance certain projects. A credit line for up to $3 million has been approved for the loan program. On-bill loans will be a minimum of $5,000 and a maximum of $30,000, with loan terms of up to 15 years. More details.
SkySpecs, an Ann Arbor-based provider of autonomous drones for the inspection of wind turbines, will be working with Sandia National Labs on the validation of blade-damage data. The project will help advance the inspection capability of automated drones.
Corporate Purchasers Roundtable to facilitate the expanded use of advanced energy resources has been established by a group of companies headquartered in Michigan including General Motors, Crystal Mountain, Dow Chemical, and Steelcase. The roundtable, led by the Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council, recently filed comments with the Michigan Public Service Commission over a pending DTE Energy request that would amend the company’s renewable energy plan by adding a voluntary renewable energy pilot program. More details.
Elon Musk and SolarCity CEO Lyndon Rive are working on solar shingles. Musk and Rive did not provide details on the solar roof, but they are not inventing something new. Dow’s Powerhouse was the biggest name to forge this path around 2009, but the company decided to stop selling this product just this past June. More details.
Deepwater Wind is installing the U.S.’ first offshore wind farm off the coast of Rhode Island near Block Island. The 30 MW project has five wind turbines that have been erected this summer. The expected start date is later this fall. Deepwater Wind’s next big undertaking has the potential for up to 200 turbines with 1 gigawatt of capacity in federal waters 30 miles southeast of Montauk, N.Y. More details.
Advanced Inverters, or smart inverters, are gaining prominence as a smart grid technology. Only a handful of states make significant use of this emerging technology, but that’s changing as electricity standards and procedures are updated. In Illinois, ComEd plans to test smart inverter functionalities as part of a microgrid pilot project on Chicago’s South Side. ComEd has also proposed a rebate of $1,000 per kW for residential customers and $500 per kW for commercial and industrial users. Many advanced features are already installed in inverters, but are disabled. Technical standards and codes have long required that distributed resources trip offline during grid disturbances, but they are becoming more flexible. More details
Energy Efficiency gains have been huge according to a new report by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy. Since 1980, the report finds that GDP in this country has grown 149%, but energy use has only increased 26%. More details.
Annual Solar Energy reports, Tracking the Sun and Utility-Scale Solar, have been released by Berkeley Lab. Median installed prices fell by $0.2-0.3/W (5-12%) from 2014 to 2015, depending on the sector. Recent installed price declines reflect continued reductions in solar “soft” costs. Installed prices continue to exhibit widespread variability across projects. Among residential systems installed in 2015, prices varied from $3.3/W to $5.0/W. The average capacity factor of utility-scale projects completed in 2014 was nearly 27%. Most PPAs for utility-scale projects signed in 2015 were priced at or below $50/MWh (levelized, in real 2015 dollars), with a few priced as aggressively as ~$30/MWh.
Elon Musk envisions Tesla stores as all-in-one destination for green-minded shoppers, where one can buy an electric car, charging station, solar system and battery. Musk is expanding the Tesla footprint by merging with SolarCity and laying out a master plan to transform Tesla beyond cars, by expanding into eco-friendly trucks and buses, ride-sharing and more. Tesla has opened 260 stores to date and plans a total of 441 by the end of 2017, when Tesla’s relatively affordable Model 3 is expected to become available. 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.
The Battery Show North America will be on Sept. 13-15 at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi. Tom Stanton will be presenting “Batteries Not Included? Why Electric Power Policies Need Changes, So That Batteries Can Plug and Play” on Sept. 14 at 8:45 am. More details.
Monika Goforth, ATC’s Guatemala Program Director, will talk on September 15th at noon at the MSU International Center, 3rd Floor venue. The Appropriate Technology Collaborative, an Ann Arbor-based nonprofit, is among the world’s top leaders in sustainability. ATC has kick-started 13 small businesses in rural Guatemala since 2015. The businesses, which are operated by Guatemalan women entrepreneurs, now serve 10,000 people, selling solar panels, clean cook stoves, and other appropriate technology at affordable prices.
Solar Gardens: Companion Planting or Weeds will be presented by Tom Stanton, National Regulatory Research Institute, on Thursday, Sept. 15 at Michigan Energy Options in East Lansing. Tom will present and discuss his latest research on community solar programs and policies. Networking will be from 5:00-6:00 pm and the presentation will be from 6:00-7:00 pm.
Solar Home Tour will be October 1, the first Saturday in October. The tour will be held in communities throughout Michigan. www.glrea.org
Lansing Area Virtual Solar Tour will be held at the Meridian Township Hall, 5151 Marsh Rd. in Okemos on Saturday, October 1, 2:00-4:00 pm. An overview of solar energy and solar installation stories will be shared by homeowners. Sponsored by the Lansing Area Solar Users Network and the Meridian Twp Energy Team. Free and refreshments will be served.
This newsletter is free. If you would like to subscribe, send a note to firstname.lastname@example.org. Interested in getting information on energy programs and issues more frequently, visit our Facebook page and “like” us. Interested in becoming a GLREA member, you can join here.
Click Here to be introduced to the Great Lakes Renewable Energy Association