Solar Energy in the Midwest

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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.


Donna on Radio show last weekend – hear it here!

Listen to Donna as she sets straight the myths about solar in Michigan on The Inside Outside Guys Radio show last Saturday. Her segment starts around 30:08, in the third podcast.

The Inside Outside Guys Saturday April 21th, 2012 Part 3

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,
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.

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

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

Solar hot air video in snowy Michigan

A video demonstrating solar hot air system on an overcast snowy day here in Michigan. When the sun shines the system rocks, but even without direct shadow the house stays warm on this day.

We are installing ten of these systems in Oakland / Livingston county. Newer systems to add to our hundreds already in place for decades.

Jump Starting the Solar Economy Means Bringing Solar to Every Home, One Neighborhood at a Time

Jump Starting the Solar Economy Means Bringing Solar to Every Home, One Neighborhood at a Time.

By Daniel S. Hafetz, Esq.

Solar power, a long promoted antidote to the looming perfect storm of energy, environmental and economic crises, has been getting a drubbing in the press recently. Since Solyndra shuttered its doors in early September, many critics have asked whether the government should be “picking winners” through programs like low-interest loans to manufacturers of solar panels like Solyndra, and whether solar energy will (ever) be a source of green jobs.

Whether they are manufactured by companies in the US, Europe or China, solar panels will be a part of America’s future energy diet.  That is because the technology is a cost-effective and renewable energy source, capable of delivering direct savings to every household.

If every home in the US had a medium sized solar photovoltaic (solar pv) system on its roof, Americans could save over $140 billion annually in electricity costs.  And for each home powered by solar energy, the annual reduction in carbon emissions would be equal to taking 1.5 cars off the road per home.  Bringing solar to millions of homes would mean a jobs boost too, especially to the companies distributing and installing solar equipment.

These panels are a viable and convenient option for homeowners around the country because they are capable of generating enough electricity to cover a home’s entire electricity needs.  They are also dependable; through a program called Net Metering, available in most states, a home’s pv system hooks into the electricity grid and the owner gets a credit on his/her utility bill for the amount of electricity the system generates.

So the real question is how we can make solar power a reality for millions of Americans.  Community purchasing of solar, an innovative approach that mobilizes whole neighborhoods to go solar and cuts homeowner’s costs in the process, could bring the needed spark.  For full article.

End of the DTE Solar Currents Program

DTE announced this week the end of the residential Solar Currents Program stating that they had reached their goals and the program was full. This program paid $2.40 per watt of any residential solar electric (PV) installation up to 20kW/meter plus a net metering program of .11 cents/kW fed back to the grid for 20 years.

DTE will still be participating in the net metering portion but will not be paying any upfront installation rates. That means there is still the possibility for the homeowner to receive credits for the energy they produce and feed into the grid, and possibly having negative utility bills, depending on the size of the system installed.

There is some rumor that DTE may consider reallocating some of the commercial program into a new residential program. We are hoping that they do in the very near future.

Many of the solar companies we talked to have lost business immediately because homeowners were counting on the Solar Currents program to be able to install a system for their home. The announcement of the system end came abruptly and took many companies and homeowners by surprise.

The Federal Tax Credit of 30% of total installation of any solar system, accept pool heating, still stands until 2016. There is also the possibility of selling power to the open market as a REC (Renewable Energy Credit).

Link to DTE Press Release

Earth Day Open House April 30th 10am-3pm

See, Feel, & Touch Solar

Working solar systems are Solar Hot Water, 2 types of Solar Space heating systems, Solar Electrical (PV), solar attic fans, Solatubes and natural daylighting. We also offer solar pool heating systems. Experience matters! We have 26 years’ experience in the solar energy business with over 7,000 happy customers. Talk to us in person about financing options and find out how solar can work for you.

Have an old furnace? Not ready for solar yet? Save energy with high efficiency furnaces and air conditioners. Enter our draw to win a new high efficiency furnace. Bring your electrical and gas bills with you for a better idea of a best fit system for you.

Directions to MES

Net Zero 110 Year Old Home In Ann Arbor, MI get 8 kWh Solar System

Historic home in Ann Arbor aims for net zero energy.

Matt and Kelly Grocoff  of Ann Arbor had Mechanical Energy systems Inc.  install an 8 kW high efficiency solar electric (PV) system in the pursuit of making his historic home the first net zero energy 110 year old home in Michigan.  After installing a geothermal furnace, super insulating and sealing the home to modern levels, he may have reached his zero goal. Despite having single pane glass windows with pane repairs and the addition of storm windows Matt was able to reduce his air exchange by over 60%. The complete installation of the solar panels was documented by Matt at GreenovationTV and Ann

Matt had this to say about MES,  “Daren and the MES crew were amazing. This is how you want your contractors to be. We made our house the oldest net zero house in America and the first in Michigan. We did not make our choice of solar lightly. We wanted the best and we found it. I`m a little worried about all the schlocky solar contractors popping up out there and using lousy equipment and poor design. MES has been around for 25 years and are completed committed to solar and have decades of experience and technical knowledge. Love these guys and I`m thrilled to have our system.”

A similar solar electric system the same size and panel type that MES installed in Garden City is almost a year old and has produced 9.3 MW at the time of this posting.  One megawatt is equal to one million watts, so  one megawatt can power 1000 homes for one hour. The Garden City home has produced enough in less than a year to power 1000 homes for 9 hours or 9000 homes for one hour.

So far MES installations have generated over 30 MW’s this year. We are looking forward to next years count that will include all the systems that are waiting for the utility to connect them.

For pictures on these installations go to our Facebook page or our website at http://www.mes1/com

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