Solar Home Tour is this Saturday!

Great Lakes Energy News

October 2019

Solar Home Tour sponsored by GLREA will be held on Saturday, October 5 in communities across Michigan.  The tour provides an opportunity for homeowners interested in solar energy to visit solar energy installations in their community and ask solar owners about their experiences in having a solar system installed on their roof or in their yard.  Sites this year include a 5 kW condo application in East Lansing and a 1.2 MW solar array in Manitou Beach south of Jackson (see photo above)Check for more information including addresses and specific times for the different tours and open houses. 
2nd Annual “Best Photo Contest” is being held, with winners to be announced at the Dec. 7 GLREA annual meeting After receiving more than 70 entries for our 2018 photo contest, GLREA again encourages you to email us photos of your renewable energy system or event taken in 2019.  We are collecting them to show on a continuous loop at our Dec. 7 annual meeting at the Lansing Brewery.  To send your photo for display at the annual meeting, just email it to  If you want to enter the photo contest, email and request the contest guidelines.  All photos must be received by December 1st.
Michigan News
MPSC has approved a settlement agreement between Consumers Energy and solar developers. Consumers will buy 584 MW of solar by September 1, 2023. The settlement ends a long disagreement about PURPA projects which requires utilities to pay “avoided cost” to qualifying solar facilities.  Some projects, totaling 170 MW, will receive full, existing PURPA rates while the remainder, 414 MW, will get a modified avoided cost rate. More details
Community Solar Bill (HB 4995) has been introduced by Rep. Michele Hoitenga (R-Manton).  Each subscriber would pay a portion of the cost of constructing the solar array and they would get a credit on their electric bill for the electricity produced. The community renewable energy system would have to be 5 MW or less.  There would have to be 10 or more subscribers. The owner of the community renewable energy system can be a “cooperative subscriber organization,” “low-income service organization,” or nonprofit and may obtain a power purchase agreement with the electric provider.  More details
DTE Energy has announced plans to achieve net zero carbon emissions in its electric company by 2050.  Earlier this year, DTE officials committed to reduce carbon emissions 50 percent by 2030 and 80 percent by 2040.  Consumers Energy plans to reduce carbon emissions 90 percent by 2040. More details
DTE is seeking to buy 25-200 MW from solar projects and 100-200 MW from wind projects. The company will consider projects reaching commercial operation between 2021 and 2023.   DTE has proposed adding up to 775 MW of renewable energy between 2021 and 2023 to satisfy RPS requirements.  The utility said additional renewable capacity will source its voluntary renewable energy programs.  More details
Consumers Energy plans to purchase 100 MW of solar energy, out of a total of 149 MW, from Ranger Power’s River Fork Solar Energy Center in Sheridan Township. The River Fork Solar Energy Center will be a $150 million project that will stretch across more than 750 acres of land. Construction, which will begin in mid-to-late 2020, will last 6-9 months. More details
Planet Detroit newsletter is a FREE weekly email newsletter dedicated to keeping subscribers up-to-date on a broad range of environmental news in Detroit, Michigan, and nationally/globally.  Just started in April.
Ann Arbor is investing roughly $74,000 in its Fire Station 6 so it can become the first city facility to come close to being “net zero electric.” City Council approved a contract with Jackson-based Harvest Solar to cover the fire station roof with solar panels. The solar array will save the city about $7,500 in annual energy costs, producing roughly 64,000 kWh’s per year.  The city has a goal of powering 100% of its municipal operations with clean and renewable energy by 2035. More details
Grand Rapids City Officials are reviving plans for a solar project at a former landfill as the city considers potential generation at 7 other city properties to help meet a 100% renewable energy goal for city operations by 2025. The Butterworth Landfill site could potentially host a 15 MW project. The city hopes to issue a request for proposals by the end of the year for a solar project at that site. More details
Apex Clean Energy is building two of the largest wind parks in the state of Michigan. They’re hoping by the end of 2020 that over 100 wind turbines will be built across Isabella County.  Apex is currently working with over 600 families in northern Isabella County on a 56,000 acre lease.  After the turbines are built, DTE Energy will assume ownership. The energy produced will help power communities around the area as well as large corporations like Ford Motors and the Detroit Zoo who have chosen MIGreenPower.  More details
Beyond Michigan
Hyperloop is the superfast, cutting edge technology first envisaged by Elon Musk. It's designed to transport people through steel tubes at speeds to match a typical aircraft. An eco-friendly version of the Hyperloop is in the works, powered by a skin of solar modules and wind turbines.  The new sustainable design by Chinese architects MAD will be built 7 meters above the ground. Pilot tubes are being erected in Dubai's deserts and futuristic pods are now in European warehouses. Virgin Hyperloop One hopes to have a service up and running by 2029.  More details
Soliel Lofts, an apartment complex outside Salt Lake City, is the first to put batteries inside every apartment connected to solar power on the roof.  The local utility can control the batteries and use them as a virtual power plant. If the grid goes down, the batteries with 12.6 MWH of storage can provide power for a few days. The apartments are all-electric and the complex will have more than 100 chargers for electric cars. More details
World’s Automakers agree the future is electric vehicles, but they don’t agree on the best path to get there.  Ford, Fiat Chrysler, and Toyota believe gas-electric hybrids have a place in the market.  GM and Volkswagen plan to drop hybrids in favor of battery-only vehicles.  Ford plans to spend $11 billion over the next few years to bring 16 battery-electrics and 24 hybrids to market.  Fiat Chrysler has committed $10 billion to develop more than 30 hybrid or electric vehicles.  GM sees more opportunity spending all of its R&D dollars on the battery-electrics it thinks are the endgame.  More details
Experion Energy Program, a joint venture between Honeywell and NRStor C&I, aims to deploy a total of 300 MW of battery storage at commercial and industrial sites – an endeavor the companies are touting as the largest behind-the-meter storage deployment in North America. The batteries will be controlled via two remote operations center that will use artificial intelligence and optimization algorithms to charge and discharge the storage systems.  More details
Phase3 Photovoltaics has been selected by DOE as one of two winners of the first round competition for the American-Made Solar Prize, worth a total of $3 million dollars.
Phase3’s approach of prefabricated solar homes has the potential to provide  solar at a substantially lower cost per watt, $1.50 for pre-fab solar homes compared to $3 in retrofitted homes.. Solar Inventions also took home a top prize for their proposal to design a more ‘stable’ and ‘reliable’ PV cell.  More details
Solar Home Tour will be held in communities across Michigan on Saturday, Oct. 5.  Go to for addresses, times, and other specifics.
Properly Valuing Solar Through Rate Design networking meeting will be hosted by Michigan EIBC in Ann Arbor on Oct. 7 and will feature Tom Stanton, Principal Researcher, Energy and Environment, at the National Regulatory Research Institute. Tickets available here.
DTE Gas is hosting a Gas Technologies event at Founders Brewery, Grand Rapids on Tuesday, Oct 22nd.  Check-in starts 11:30AM for a noon lunch.   More details
3rd Annual Sustainable Detroit Forum will be held on Oct. 23, 9:00 am-5:00 pm at Cobo Hall.  Learn about Detroit-based sustainability projects.  More details
Michigan Interfaith Power & Light’s 2019 Sustainability Conference will be held Nov. 8 at Marygrove College in Detroit. Registration is open now.
GLREA Annual Meeting will be held on Saturday, Dec. 7 at Lansing Brewing.  Save the date.
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