Solar Home Tour is tomorrow, Saturday, October 1. Talk to your neighbors about solar energy, energy efficiency, and other green practices. Specifics about tours in Ann Arbor, Chelsea, Detroit, Flint, Lansing, Saginaw, Southwest Michigan, and Ypsilanti can be found at www.glrea.org.
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Muskegon County has agreed to lease 1,908 acres of its 11,000-acre wastewater treatment facility to Tradewind Energy for the construction of a solar array. The county signed another lease with the company to develop portions of the 11,000 acres into wind farms. More details.
2015 Annual Net Metering and Solar Program Report has been issued by the MPSC. The report shows an increase of 20% in the program over 2014 and noted that net metering increased from 1,840 customers in 2014 to 2,155 customers in 2015. Solar was the most popular, with an additional 333 net metering installations adding a total of 2,570 kW in 2015. Category 1, those up to 20 kW, accounts for 79% of the total capacity. Michigan’s net metering program is 0.019 percent of Michigan’s total retail sales.
Mackinac Technology Co. in Grand Rapids is developing a high efficiency window covering, a polymer pane that is applied to the interior of a window and can be custom fit to any frame. A single pane of coating has an R-value of 5 and can go up to 13, based on the number of panes. The product has attracted the attention and funding of the military. Researchers with Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft and Calvin College are working with Mackinac’s engineers on testing and prototypes. They hope to have a product on the market in about two years. More details.
Ypsilanti Fire Department will have the largest city-owned solar array, 50 kW. It will bump Ypsilanti’s total solar capacity to 1,078,825 watts, or 54.5 watts per capita, which is 16th in the nation. The 176-panel array will cost around $59,000, covered by a $25,000 anonymous donation and $34,000 from the city’s energy efficiency and conservation fund. Officials are expecting annual savings of at least $6,424. The city is partnering with Solar Ypsi’s Dave Strenski to put the project together. The announcement of the new installation comes after Highland Cemetery and DTE Energy partnered to build Ypsilanti’s largest solar array, 800 kW. More details
UM School of Nursing Building has received LEED Gold Certification. Features include 27% energy savings, green roof that covers 2300 sq. ft., 35% building materials manufactured using recycled materials, and 25% building materials manufactured and extracted within 500 miles of Ann Arbor.
General Motors has announced it plans to generate or source all electrical power for its 350 operations in 59 countries with 100% renewable energy by 2050. This new renewable energy goal, along with electric vehicles and efficient manufacturing, is part of the overall approach to address climate change. GM is also joining RE100, a global collaborative of businesses committed to 100% renewable electricity. Today, GM saves $5 million annually by using renewable energy. The company has 22 facilities with solar arrays, three sites using landfill gas and four that will soon benefit from wind. More details.
Wolverine Power Cooperative has announced that one of its member-owners, Spartan Renewable Energy, will commence construction this fall on a 1.2 MW solar array in Cadillac across from Wolverine’s headquarters. Wolverine will purchase 100% of the output from the project for the benefit of its member-owners. www.spartansolar.com
Michigan Compliance with the federal Clean Power Plan would be at a relatively low cost according to two different modeling programs conducted for the state. The lowest-cost scenarios for compliance were projected in both models to reduce costs compared to a future without the rule. The highest-cost scenarios from either modeling effort occurred when the amount of energy waste reduction was constrained by spending limits in current law. One of the modeling efforts was conducted by Resources for the Future and the other modeling effort was conducted by Synapse Energy Economics.
2016 Housing Innovation Awards, recently announced by DOE, recognize builders, architects, and industry professionals for their outstanding accomplishments in designing and building Zero Energy-Ready Homes. Winners for Innovation in Affordable Homes include Habitat for Humanity, Grand Traverse Region and Kalamazoo Valley Habitat for Humanity. More details.
Sion (see photo above) has seating for 6, range of 150+ miles, 7.5 square meters of solar cells, air filtration system that uses moss, and a price of less than $18,000 (battery price not included). A German startup, Sono Motors, has just finished a successful crowdfunding campaign to take its Sion electric car prototype to the next step and it could go into production as early as 2018. Although the Sion can be charged via a plug, this car also has solar cells integrated into its body, which are capable of delivering a charge to the vehicle’s battery that can power it up to 18.6 miles per day. More details.
Catching the Sun, a documentary about solar energy, can now be streamed on Netflix. The 1 hr. 15 min. video tells the stories of workers and entrepreneurs in the U.S. and China and the challenges faced in moving to a clean energy economy.
Cost of Wind Power should plunge between 24 and 30% by the year 2030 according to a survey of 163 wind energy experts. Lawrence Berkeley National Lab conducted the study which has been published in the journal Nature Energy. By 2030, experts expect the average onshore wind turbine to stand 115 meters (from ground to hub) and to have a rotor diameter of 135 meters. Offshore turbines will be at 125 meters with an average rotor diameter of 190 meters. The average onshore wind turbine in 2030 will be 3.25 MW and the average offshore turbine will be 11 MW. More details.
Nine States (Hawaii, California, Nevada, Colorado, Minnesota, Connecticut, Oregon, New York and Rhode Island) and the District of Columbia have effective RPS requirements of 25% or higher. New York and California have raised their goals to 50% renewable energy by 2030. According to NREL and Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, state RPSs have created $7.5 billion in annual benefits from reduced air emissions, 27 billion gallons in yearly water savings, $1.3 billion to $4.9 billion in reduced consumer energy prices, 200,000 American jobs and $20 billion in annual GDP. More details.
Lansing Area Virtual Solar Tour will be held at the Meridian Township Hall, 5151 Marsh Rd. in Okemos on 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. No cost and refreshments will be served.
Climate Change 2016 event “This is Not Cool” will be at 7:00 pm on Oct. 5 in Grand Rapids at Fountain Street Church, 24 Fountain St. NE. Documentary videographer Peter Sinclair will share new climate change research from his fourth expedition to the Greenland ice cap. Register
Learn about Solar over Tea will be held on October 8th, 9:00 am– 10:30 pm at Cultivate Tea & Tap House, 307 N River St in Ypsilanti.
Advancing Women in Energy (AWE) will have a kick-off event on Monday, October 17 from 5:00 to 7:00 pm at UrbanBeat in Lansing. AWE is a non-profit organization that represents the collaborative efforts of energy professionals in Michigan and the broader Midwest region who share a commitment to recruiting, promoting, and maintaining women in energy and energy-related fields. Heavy appetizers and drinks will be served. More details.
Community Investment Series: Exploring Community Funded Solar will be held on October 27th, 4:00 pm – 5:30 pm at Spark East, 215 West Michigan Ave in Ypsilanti.
Compressed Air Fundamentals class will be held at Cascade Engineering on Oct. 31.
Compressed Air Master Controller and Automation class on Nov. 1 in Grand Rapids.
EcoWorks’ 8th Annual Breakfast celebrating 35 years of sustainable solutions will be held on Nov. 4, 7:30 am-10 am at the Detroit Yacht Club. Native American activist and environmentalist Winona LaDuke will be the keynote speaker. More details.
PV Conference & Expo – Chicago will be held at the Hilton Chicago on November 9-10. Sponsored by the Solar Energy Industries Assoc. and Smart Electric Power Alliance, the conference will bring together 1,000 or more attendees from the solar industry, utilities, and interested organizations. http://events.solar/pvchicago
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