Solar Energy in the Midwest

Posts tagged ‘Ann Arbor’

101+ Ways to Save Energy in Your Home

Once there was a homeowner by the name of Jim. Jim worked hard for his paycheck, but had enough to cover the monthly expenses and have some left over to enjoy. Jim liked to take his wife Kris out to dinner and then to the latest movie. They traveled up north during the summer for a vacation and every other year they also took a trip to the sunny south during the cold winter to see Mickey Mouse and his crew. Jim was also able to put some dollars aside for retirement and the kid’s education. Each month the utility bills would come and they like most other bills seemed to be growing faster than Jim’s paycheck. Jim gathered the family together and said, “We need to find a way to reduce our monthly bills or we will need to eliminate college saving or retirement saving or our leisure activities such as dining out, movies and vacations.” Jim’s family did not want to lose any of those hard-earned choices. Jim and his family began shopping with coupons to save money. They drove the car less and replaced the gas guzzler with a car that got much better gas mileage. But they were frustrated on additional ways to save on their monthly bills. They began to look at the utility bills and decided it was time to attack the amount of energy and water they were using. But where do they look for a collection of energy-saving tips that an average family in Michigan can use? Where do they find a list they can review and determine what fits their lifestyle? Well they found the answer when they downloaded the MES 101+ Ways to Save Energy and it was FREE! Now they are reviewing the list and implementing many of those ideas and seeing the energy usage and the monthly utility bills going down. You too can find unique and helpful ways to save on your utilities each month. Just download our FREE e-book with 101+ ideas you can put into effect now to save. Many won’t cost you a dime to put into practice!

If you have questions, call us today!

It’s a good time of year to have our trained experienced air conditioning Technicians solve your cooling problems whether you live in Ann Arbor, in Canton, Novi, Northville, or Plymouth.

Contact us at www.mes1.com or call us @ (734) 453-6746

Michigan Breweries Going Solar « CBS Detroit

Michigan Breweries Going Solar « CBS Detroit.

(credit: Thinkstock)

(credit: Thinkstock)

mattroushReporting Matt Roush

YPSILANTI — Barley, hops and yeast are powered by the sun.

Increasingly, so are the breweries that turn those ingredients into beer.

Southeast Michigan brewery owners Matt and Rene Greff are breaking new ground for Michigan breweries as solar installations at their two breweries come on line this summer.

Arbor Brewing Co. became Michigan’s first solar brewery when it flipped the switch on a new system comprised of a 2.4-kilowatt solar photovoltaic array, 300 solar thermal collector tubes and a high-efficiency tankless water heater system to supplement the heat from the collector tubes when necessary.

These big ticket investments were combined with smaller improvements like switching to CFL and LED lighting and installing low-flow sprayers and occupancy sensors.

The project grew out of the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority’s Energy Conservation Grant Program, which provided free energy audits and 50 percent project rebates up to $20,000 to downtown businesses that implemented audit recommendations to become more energy efficient.

ABC owner Matt Greff worked with Ann Arbor DDA Energy Programs Director David Konkle as well as a consulting team from the University of Michigan’s School of Natural Resources and the Environment, led by Jarett Diamond.

Together they were able to identify a number of financial resources and incentives to help offset the installation cost of the system including the $20,000 grant from the DDA, a $10,000 interest-free loan from the city, a 30 percent tax credit from the federal government, and various incentives from DTE Energy.

The couple’s Corner Brewery in Ypsilanti is also nearing completion on its own $250,000 Green Brewery Project which includes solar-thermal, photovoltaic, and geo-thermal technologies along with other improvements like new windows and awnings and energy-efficient chiller equipment.

Why We Pay Double for Solar in America (But Won’t Forever) | Institute for Local Self-Reliance

Why We Pay Double for Solar in America (But Won’t Forever) | Institute for Local Self-Reliance.

This is an excellent article that we agree with completely.  The beautifully easy to understand graph mirrors our experience in pricing systems. We found that regardless of the panel price the extraneous expenses attached such as permitting fees, permitting requirements, engineering stamps, roof load studies, fire studies, among a few, that may or may not be required from city to city and township to township are the real expenses that add to the cost of solar. Also slowing down a job to educate the inspector step by step, while important and beneficial in the long run, but adds to labor costs. – Val

Can Solar Panels and Historic Preservation Get Along?

Can Solar Panels and Historic Preservation Get Along?.

Kaid Benfield   Jun 25, 2012

I believe that historic preservation in the right context – a healthy neighborhood – can be intrinsically green. Most historic buildings, at least the ones constructed before the days of freeways and urban flight, are on walkable streets in relatively central locations. They represent embodied energy and materials that would be consumed if the same amount of space and the same function had to be constructed anew. Also, being built before “the thermostat age,” as my friend Steve Mouzon calls it, many of them were built with attention to climate and with locally sourced materials, giving them environmentally beneficial characteristics as a matter of design.

But, by definition, historic buildings do not have the latest technology unless it is added many years later. I agree with Steve that technology can be overrated as an environmental cure-all, but there are clearly some forms of green technology that can strengthen the environmental profile of older buildings. This raises the delicate issue of how much updating can and should occur without compromising the building’s historic character.

Full Story

Solar Top 10: SEPA List Details Key Utility Trends | Renewable Energy News Article

Solar Top 10: SEPA List Details Key Utility Trends | Renewable Energy News Article.

By Steve Leone, Associate Editor, RenewableEnergyWorld.com
April 19, 2012

This week, the Solar Electric Power Association released a preview of its Solar Top 10, an annual look at which utilities are taking the lead of solar development. The full detailed report will come out in May. The 2011 findings show a 38 percent growth in the number of installations over the past year and a 120 percent spike in megawatts installed. SEPA expects this trajectory to continue in 2012 behind continued price drops and the build out of large-scale projects.

While we already knew that solar had its best year ever in 2011, and that final installation numbers were higher than expected, it’s still valuable to see which utilities connected the most solar, and where new high levels of deployment are being seen.

So here are some takeaways from the recently released findings:

  • Large-scale solar farms make the headlines, but smaller installations remain the bread-and-butter of the industry. In 2011, utilities interconnected over 62,500 PV systems. Thirteen utilities interconnected more than 1,000 PV systems and 22 interconnected more than 500 systems. According to the report, this volume of smaller, distributed interconnections is unlike anything the utility industry has previously managed. It’ll be interesting to see how these numbers fare next year and in 2013 when the impacts of the recently expired Section 1603 grant will be felt.

Click on title for full story.

Powerful Solar Financing Program For Homeowners Gets Reprieve – Forbes

Powerful Solar Financing Program For Homeowners Gets Reprieve – Forbes.

Justin Gerdes, Contributor   Independent journalist specializing in energy and the environment

Last week, two events gave notice that rumors of the death of PACE financing, one of the most promising policies available to fund energy retrofits, have been greatly exaggerated.

On January 20, a federal district court in California ordered the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) to initiate a “full-blown” rulemaking process on PACE financing. Yesterday, the notice of the proposed rulemaking was published in the Federal Register. The week before, on January 19, San Diego-based Figtree Energy Resource Company announced a deal involving a first-of-its-kind, multi-city commercial PACE bond.

 

First, some back story.

 

Rarely have energy policy wonks been so excited. In October 2007, that City of Berkeley announced its intention to create what it called a Sustainable Energy Financing District. Based on an idea credited to Cisco DeVries, then chief of staff to Mayor Tom Bates, the scheme appeared to offer a breathtakingly simple and elegant solution to a seemingly intractable problem: the steep upfront cost of clean energy and efficiency projects.

 

PACE financing offers homeowners a way to install energy upgrades, such as rooftop solar panels, without the steep upfront costs. Credit: groSolar/DOE

 

PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) programs, as DeVries’ brainchild are now known, proliferated; today, legislation enabling the programs has been passed in 27 states. PACE financing enables property owners to take out a loan, usually via city- or state-organized bonds, to pay for solar panels, insulation, energy-efficient HVAC systems, or other improvements. Loans are repaid, typically over 20 years, through an annual supplemental property tax assessment.

 

DeVries’ beautiful solution, however, soon hit a snag. In July 2010, FHFA ordered Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac not to underwrite mortgages for homes with PACE loans. FHFA was concerned that in most states with PACE programs the liens resulting from the PACE program loans have priority over mortgages – the PACE lender would be paid ahead of the bank, or Fannie or Freddie, in the case of foreclosure.   Read More

Comment: Scary to read about a huge glitch in great financing opportunity. Ann Arbor has implemented the PACE program but only for commercial/business buildings so this is not going to affect this area much but hopefully this can be straightened out federally so the program can be extended to homeowners in Ann Arbor as well. – Val

 

Snow covered solar panels

Snow covered solar panels.

A solar PV system owner in snowy Michigan describes how they perform after a snow storm. Thanks for sharing!

Renewable Power Trumps Fossils for First Time as UN Talks Stall – Bloomberg

Renewable Power Trumps Fossils for First Time as UN Talks Stall – Bloomberg.

Renewable energy is surpassing fossil fuels for the first time in new power-plant investments, shaking off setbacks from the financial crisis and an impasse at the United Nations global warming talks.

Electricity from the wind, sun, waves and biomass drew $187 billion last year compared with $157 billion for natural gas, oil and coal, according to calculations by Bloomberg New Energy Finance using the latest data. Accelerating installations of solar- and wind-power plants led to lower equipment prices, making clean energy more competitive with coal.

“The progress of renewables has been nothing short of remarkable,” United Nations Environment Program Executive Secretary Achim Steiner said in an interview. “You have record investment in the midst of an economic and financial crisis.”

The findings indicate the world is shifting toward consuming more renewable energy even without a global agreement on limiting greenhouse gases. Delegates from more than 190 nations converge in Durban, South Africa, on Nov. 28 to discuss new measures for limiting emissions damaging the climate.

Subsidizing the Boom

The renewables boom, spurred by about $66 billion of subsidies last year, intensified competition between wind- turbine and solar-panel manufacturers, gutting margins from the biggest producers led by Vestas Wind Systems A/S and First Solar Inc. (FSLR) The 95-member WilderHill New Energy Index (NEX) of renewable- energy stocks has tumbled 40 percent this year, steeper than the 14 percent drop in the MSCI World Index.

The zeal to replace fossil fuels, which take millions of years to form from dead organic matter, belies the failed efforts at the UN talks to broker a deal that would limit carbon dioxide emissions from coal and oil blamed for global warming. Without a deal, existing pollution caps under the 1997 Kyoto Protocol expire next year.

For full article

Application fees set for Ann Arbor’s new PACE program

Application fees set for Ann Arbor’s new PACE program.

By Ryan J. Stanton
Political Reporter

The Ann Arbor City Council on Monday supported the final step to fully implement the city’s new Property Assessed Clean Energy program.

A resolution approved by council sets the application fees for the PACE program, which is a special financing mechanism to help commercial property owners in Ann Arbor undertake energy efficiency and renewable energy projects.

Through the PACE program, qualifying property owners are able to borrow money for energy efficiency projects ranging from $10,000 to $350,000 and then pay back the loans through special assessments added onto their tax bills for up to 10 years.

Andrew_Brix_April_4_2011_2.jpg

Andrew Brix

The program is a joint effort of the city of Ann Arbor and Clean Energy Coalition. City officials believe the availability of PACE financing will support economic stimulation across the city, create jobs and reduce operating costs for business owners.For full article go to: Link

Video of 8.3 hisoric home solar installation, Ann Arbor, MI

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