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.

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Earth Day Solar Trolley Tour Loads of Fun!

Thank you to everyone who participated in the Earth Day Solar Trolley Tour around Canton, MI this weekend.

The tour took place between 10 and 2 Saturday the 14th. We hold our earth-day before or after the actual date because there is just too many activities taking place, we don’t know how anyone can choose.

Mes Solar array

Our 5.1 kW solar electric array above our solar space heating wall.

There were a lot of families that took part this year and after a tour of the demonstration center we hopped on the bus around 11am.

Solar Tour Trolley

Everyone on the bus!

Everyone on the bus!

The tour consisted of solar pool  heating, solar water heating, solar space heating, solar photovoltaic (electricity) and natural daylighting systems.

Solar electric system

Home owner shares his experiences with his 8.28 kW system.

Back on the bus

Everyone back on the bus!

Solar Hot Water

Homeowner DIY solar hot water system, heats home and pool. Shares his Home Owners Association experience.

It was a fun tour. If enough people are interested we may do this again in October for the National Solar Tour. The weather looked ominous but cleared enough for us to be relaxed and take our time to hear their experiences and ask plenty of questions.

Join us for Earth Day Open House

Join us Saturday April 14th 10am-2pm and tour our solar showroom.

In-house we have:

  • 5.3 kW 21 panel SunPower plus Enphase micro-inverters. Watch this system live and compare to other systems around the country.
  • Two styles of solar space heating.
  • Solar water heating
  • Natural daylight office with various sized Solatubes

We also have:

  • Solar attic fans
  • Solar pool heating systems

Sign up by April 7th to ride the bus tour of local homes we have installed systems on and talk to the homeowner. Seats are limited.

Bring your energy bills and we can help you find the best system for your needs. Open to all – FREE, parking available.

SIGN ME UP!

A Letter from our CEO – Donna Napolitano

Energy, who has it? Who wants it? Who can own it?

In these days of economic uncertainty one thing is certain is our unquenchable thirst for more energy, a valued precious commodity that is not only in demand, but growing more precious every day.  Our life is built around the need for power from the moment we awake to the radio in the morning and step into the heated bedroom floor that warms our feet, to walking into the kitchen to grab a steaming cup of coffee set to be ready the night before, and that is just the first few minutes of our day.  Let’s face it; running our daily life is built around the need for power.  It is the one thing that brings us our secure life style, allows us to communicate, manage our household, our business, our social contacts, and our American life style every day.  Who has it? Who wants it?  Who can own it?  You can!

Since the day Thomas Edison invented the use of electricity with the light bulb, we have been on a journey to bring energy to our lives in a clean, reliable, cost-effective manner.  Available now is the technology to harness the power of the sun, the inexhaustible fusion plant, for use in our homes, businesses and everyday life.  Solar panels convert those light waves into usable energy sent through the power lines to our home or business.  By installing solar panels, you now can invest in our own energy plant and curtail the raising cost of energy in the future.

The dollars you sent to the utility company month after month and will never see again can now be directed to financing vehicles that allow you to invest in our own energy plant.  Think about it, where can you put your money today in a secure investment that grows at 8% – 15% a year, has a ROI of 8-10 years, and will actually pay you thousands over the life of the product, 25-30 years.  To make the pot even sweeter, Federal tax credits are available for investors at 30% of the entire investment until December 31, 2016.  Another opportunity is the production of REC (renewable energy credits), traded on the open market can add an income to your portfolio of $200 – $800 per kWh.  With many more states jumping on the band wagon to boost use of renewable energy they offer the options to purchase your REC’s and add them to their portfolio.

Many investors are holding on to their dollars or capital, unsure where to invest to guard against loss. This investment can offer you stability and put you in control as you monitor your energy usage and patterns and accumulate credits on your utility bill.  Spinning the dial backwards on your energy meter can bring a smile to your face.

Solar is one of the only products that I have heard potential buyers ask “What is the ROI” (return on investment).  Take a look around your home, what have you invested in that will pay you back in the next ten years? Surely not the new big screen TV, Bose surround speaker system, refrigerator, granite counter tops, or the new car in the driveway, in many cases these items will no longer operate and be long gone.  Solar is one of the only products you can purchase that appreciates over time as energy prices rise.    This investment will also add value to your home.  Fanny May and Freddie Mack have released statements that support investment in solar will add value to your home.  The installation of even a small system of     3 kW (3,000 watts) will add approximately $16,500.00 to the value of your house.  Compare 2 houses side-by-side, both have the same square footage, style, and design.  One has a solar system and no or low energy bills and the other pays high ever rising energy cost each month increasing your monthly operating cost, what would your choice be?

May I suggest you look to the clean, renewable, energy for your power?

As our demand for power grows and the resources of coal, nuclear, and oil release their toxic fuses and deplete our natural resources, a clean solution is at hand.  You may be the first one on your block to move forward with solar power, but you could be an example for energy independence with cash in your wallet and a positive influence on our children’s future.  – Donna Napolitano

 

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