Solar Energy Update will be held in E. Lansing on May 31.

Great Lakes Energy News

May 2018

The GLREA Board has endorsed the Clean Energy, Healthy Michigan ballot initiative that would increase the Michigan Renewable Portfolio Standard from 15% by 2021 to 30% by 2030.  Signatures are now being collected so the ballot initiative can be on the November ballot.  League of Conservation Voters, Michigan Unitarian Universalists Social Justice Network, and MISUN have also recently endorsed the ballot initiative.
Michigan News
Residential Distributed Generation (DG) billing mechanism that will eventually replace net metering has been approved by the MPSC.  MPSC staff conducted a study on the cost of service for customers of rate-regulated utilities who participate in net metering programs. The Staff Study to Develop a Cost of Service-Based Distributed Generation Program Tariff recommended an inflow/outflow billing mechanism. Inflow, the energy a customer buys from a utility, would be priced at full retail rate, while excess energy outflows from the customer to the grid could be credited at the utility’s avoided cost in the next billing period. Utilities must include their DG inflow/outflow tariff as part of rate cases filed after June 1. Utilities may also file their own distributed generation tariff.  Rate cases take months and a new DG tariff is not expected until sometime in 2019.  Customers enrolled in net metering before the utility’s DG rate is approved can remain in the existing net metering program for 10 years after the customer first enrolled.
My Solar School Contest, a Michigan-based competition to inspire and support student teams (grades 6-12) to pursue PV installations at their schools, has announced the winners: Grand Prize Winner was West Bloomfield High School, Runner-Up was Ann Arbor STEAM at Northside, and Finalists were Gesu School in Detroit, Glen Lake Community School, and West Side Academy of IT and Cyber Security in Detroit.  Cash prizes will help the schools with fundraising for their solar systems. My Solar School Contest was a collaboration between the Ecology Center, U.S. Green Building Council Detroit Region, Generation 180, Michigan Agency for Energy, GLREA, USGBC West Region and EcoWorks.  More details.  
Detroit Zoo has installed a 16-by-16-foot flower-shaped solar energy system (see photo above). The ground-mounted smartflower can generate 40% more energy than traditional solar and it cleans itself twice a day from dust and snow.  The first smartflower in Michigan has 12 solar petals that trail the sun through a GPS-based dual-axis tracker.  More details.
Soulardarity’s 1st Solar Smart Pole has been installed at Parker Village in Highland Park. The light, designed and manufactured by Ann Arbor based Solartonic, will be the first of its kind in Highland Park, but not the last as Parker Village plans to light up its campus. It includes Digital signage, integrated solar panels on the pole, large lithium battery and a built-in Wi-Fi Node.  The timing is to prepare for the first Energy, Sustainability and Tech Fair to be held in Highland Park on May 12th.  Sponsored by GLREA, Soulardarity, Modern Tribe Communications and Parker Village, the fair will feature a variety of speakers on clean energy and sustainability. or
Voluntary Green Pricing programs were approved by the MPSC for Alpena Power (U-18350), Indiana Michigan Power (U-18353), Northern States Power-Wisconsin (U-18354), Upper Peninsula Power (U-18355), Upper Michigan Energy Resources (U-18356), and Wisconsin Electric Power (U-18357). Under the programs, required of electric providers as part of the state’s new energy laws, customers will be able to specify how much of their electricity will be generated by renewable energy.
Solar installations have put Ypsilanti on the Clean Energy Map.  Dave Strenski calculates that Ypsilanti has 50 watts of solar power per capita. The story starts in 2005 with Dave Strenski helping the food coop win a demonstration grant from the state that helped pay for 4 solar panels putting out 800 watts.  The coop project was the birth of Solar Ypsi, an all-volunteer effort to make Ypsilanti a leader in solar power.  Solar Ypsi has a website that has interactive maps, videos, and real-time data from 72 installations in and around Ypsilanti. City of Ypsilanti adopted a resolution in 2013 setting a goal of 1,000 solar roofs by 2020. Recently SolarYpsi is one of over 170 teams selected to compete in the DOE’s Solar In Your Community Challenge. The $500,000 grand prize from the Challenge could provide rebates for solar systems.  More details.
DTE’s certificates of necessity to build a natural gas-powered electric plant in St. Clair County has been approved by the MPSC. The Commission authorized DTE to recoup up to $951.8 million for the construction of an 1,100 MW combined cycle plant (Case No. U-18419).  The order indicates that increased demand response, energy waste reduction, and renewable energy could potentially displace a second gas plant DTE proposed in its integrated resource plan to meet its needs in 2029. DTE is directed to include such a scenario in its April 2019 IRP filing
Beyond Michigan
Denmark has an ambitious target to produce 100% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2050. With its high abundance of renewable energy, Bornholm Island, just south of Sweden, was the perfect test site for the European Union’s EcoGrid EU project. Home to 40,000, the island is connected to the Swedish electricity grid, but can also operate independent of the grid. The island currently has 16 MW of combined heat and power, 29 MW of wind, 6.5 MW of PV, 2 MW of biogas as well as 34 MW of diesel and 25 MW of oil-fired steam generation for backup. EcoGrid EU tested the impact of having domestic and industrial customers reduce consumption to balance the system.  The main focus was on electric heating systems and heat pumps. More details.
US Wind Industry now employs a record-breaking 105,500 people across 50 states and four states (Iowa, Kansas, Oklahoma, & South Dakota) source more than 30% of their electricity from wind, according to the American Wind Energy Association's US Wind Industry Annual Market Report 2017. More details.
8.4 MW Wind Turbine, 191 meters high, has been installed off the coast of Aberdeen, Scotland. Ten more will be installed and operational by the end of the summer.  A single blade rotation can reportedly power an average home for a whole day. The average size of offshore wind turbines installed last year was 5.9 MW, but GE recently announced the development of a 12 MW turbine. More details.
New Microgrids and Nanogrids in Puerto Rico proved their worth providing resilient power during the island-wide grid outage on April 18, the second utility grid failure in the past month.  More details.
AWEA Windpower 2018 will be held in Chicago on May 7-10.
Solarize Meridian Workshop will be held on May 7, 7:00-8:30 pm at Unitarian Universalist Church of Greater Lansing, 5509 S. Pennsylvania in Lansing. Lansing area solar owners will share their experiences and you can learn about how solar works, cost savings, net metering, financing, tax credits, selecting a solar system and contractor, and much more.  No cost to attend and all are welcome.
Combined Heat and Power (CHP) Workshop sponsored by DTE and MTU will be held on May 7, 11am-2pm at the MTU Training Center in Canton.  This workshop is for facility managers and building owners located in the DTE Gas service territory and will cover CHP technology and economics. More details.
Solarize Delta Workshop sponsored by League of Women Voters of the Lansing Area will be held on May 10, 6:00-7:00 pm at the Delta Township Library, 5130 Davenport Dr.  Lansing area solar owners will share their experiences about solar energy.  Learn how solar works, cost savings, net metering, financing, tax credits, selecting a solar system and contractor, and much more.  No cost to attend and all are welcome.
Energy Efficiency Upgrades at The Whitney sponsored by MEECA will be held on May 10, 5-8 pm.  PACE Financing helped the historic Whitney Restaurant get much needed energy efficiency upgrades, including 1,600 chandelier LED lights, 214 new windows, and 24 energy efficient heat pumps. More details.
Energy Sustainability & Tech Fair will be held in Highland Park on May 12, 11am-8pm. Event locations include Parker Village, Prayer Temple of Love, and Soulardarity.  The community, professionals, and activists are invited to share experiences and ideas on creating a sustainable community.  Information:
How PACE Can Pay for Advanced Lighting Controls: Case Study - The Whitney Restaurant will be held on May 15, 8:00 am – 3:45 pm at NextEnergy.  In 2017, The Whitney obtained Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing for a comprehensive electrical and lighting systems upgrade. More details.
Detroit's 2030 District will host a roundtable meeting May 16, 11:30-1:30 at Next Energy (461 Burroughs in Detroit) for small commercial buildings in Detroit to learn how to cut their energy and water use by 50 percent.  RSVP: Connie Lilley by May 8 at or 248-897-1255.
Solar Energy Update sponsored by GLREA and the Lansing Area Solar Users Network will be held on May 31, 5:30-7:00 pm at Michigan Energy Options in E. Lansing.  The update will cover the Clean Energy, Healthy Michigan ballot initiative (30% renewable energy by 2030), the new Distributed Generation tariff that will replace net metering (Julie Baldwin, MPSC Manager, will join us), and the Burcham Park Community Solar Project sponsored by the Lansing Board of Water & Light.  Come find out the latest information about these important solar issues.
Michigan Clean Energy Conference & Expo will be held by the Groundwork Center for Resilient Communities in Traverse City on June 21-23.  From a Thursday night kick-off solstice party, to Friday’s Clean Energy Conference, to Saturday’s Energy Expo at NMC, there will be something for everyone.  More details
ASES Solar 2018 will be held at the University of Colorado in Boulder on August 5-8. Registration is now open.  Early bird rates apply until June 1. Register today!
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