Solar Energy in the Midwest

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Clean Energy Coalition :: bridging needs. advancing change. :: Green Fleets

Clean Energy Coalition :: bridging needs. advancing change. :: Green Fleets.

Based on data drawn from an Argonne National Laboratory model, Green Fleets projects will displace at least 1.5 million gallons of petroleum per year, and more than 13 million gallons during the anticipated average 10-year equipment life cycle. The clean fuel vehicles that Green Fleets deploys won’t only displace imported petroleum; they’ll also reduce emissions of harmful compounds and greenhouse gases, such as:

  • 261,560 pounds of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emissions annually – over 2.6 million pounds over the life cycle
  • 10,933,642 pounds of nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions annually – over 109 million pounds over the life cycle
  • 156,859 pounds of particulate matter (PM2.5) emissions annually – over 1.5 million pounds over the life cycle
  • 102,611,815 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions annually – over 1.02 billion pounds over the life cycle
  • 2,360,232 pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions annually – over 23.6 million pounds over the life cycle
  • Read full article here

Green Growth Still Setting the Pace | Renewable Energy World Magazine Article

Green Growth Still Setting the Pace | Renewable Energy World Magazine Article.

By Janet L. Sawin, Contributor
October 18, 2012

REN21’s Renewables Global Status Report — an overview of renewable energy market, industry, investment and policy developments worldwide, relying on an international network of more than 400 contributors — reveals that the sector continued to expand across all its various segments.

Renewable sources supplied an estimated 16.7 percent of global final energy consumption in 2010. Of this total, modern renewable energy (as opposed to traditional biomass) accounted for an estimated 8.2 percent, a share that has increased in recent years, while the share from traditional biomass has declined slightly to an estimated 8.5 percent. During 2011, modern renewables continued to grow strongly in all end-use sectors.

In the power sector, renewables accounted for almost half of the estimated 208 GW of electric capacity added globally during 2011. Wind and solar photovoltaics (PV) accounted for almost 40 percent and 30 percent of new renewable capacity respectively, followed by hydropower (nearly 25 percent). By end 2011, total renewable power capacity worldwide exceeded 1360 GW, up 8 percent over 2010; renewables comprised more than 25 percent of total global power-generating capacity (estimated at 5360 GW in 2011) and supplied an estimated 20.3 per cent of global electricity. Non-hydropower renewables exceeded 390 GW, a 24 percent capacity increase over 2010. For full article

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.

Grand Rapids Ramps Go Electric

Grand Rapids Ramps Go Electric.

A group of middle school students from Grand Rapids Public School’s Center for Economicology crowded around Mayor George Heartwell on Tuesday to hear him announce five new Plug-in Electric Vehicle (PEV) charging stations downtown.  Second Ward Commissioners Rosalynn Bliss and Ruth Kelly, as well as a representative from Cascade Engineering, were also on hand for the press conference.

“We have to keep up with the demand for electric cars,” he told the students. “I bet by the time you guys are driving, 10 percent of the cars will be electric cars.”

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!

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

Renewable Sources Continue Explosive Growth | Renewable Energy News Article

Renewable Sources Continue Explosive Growth | Renewable Energy News Article. By Ken Bossong, SUN DAY Campaign

January 4, 2012

Renewables now provide 12% of domestic energy production, 14% more than 2010; and renewable electrical output increased 25%, which contributes to 13% of U.S. power.

For the first nine months of 2011, renewable energy sources (i.e., biomass/biofuels, geothermal, solar, water, wind) provided 11.95% of domestic U.S. energy production. That compares to 10.85% for the same period in 2010 and 10.33% in 2009. By comparison, nuclear power provided just 10.62% of the nation’s energy production in the first three quarters of 2011 — i.e., 11.10% less than renewables.

For full article

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