Tag Archives: solar

Ypsi Fire Station gets 50kW of Solar Power

Saturday was a beautiful day and we had about a dozen volunteers show up for the Ypsi  Fire Station solar installation. It was done in about seven hours! Thanks to the Ypsi Fire Department and DPW for moving the material to the roof. We had volunteers from Ypsi, Ann Arbor, and St.Louis. They ranged in age from 20 to 70 years old. Their skills varied from novice to profession solar installers. Having all the material on the roof made the job go fast. Everyone had fun and seem to enjoy themselves. As the old saying goes, “Many hands make light work”. It was like an Amish barn raising for solar power. We now have 50kW on our local Fire Station. The solar contractor, John Wakemen, is wiring it up this week and we hope to have it wrapped up in a few weeks.  Pictures posted at SolarYpsi and many volunteers posted more on FaceBook.

Fire Station Solar Installation
Fire Station Solar Installation

Ypsilanti in the Lead for Installed Solar Power

Today on WEMU I heard that Ann Arbor announced that they want to be a “Solar Ready” city, Ann Arbor Wants To Become A ‘Solar Ready’ Community”. What’s interesting is the article says they currently have about 150kW of installed solar. I always wondered how much solar power our neighbors to the west had installed.

“As part of the city’s climate action plan, the council is considering approving a resolution to make Ann Arbor a “solar ready community.” They want to generate 24 megawatts by the year 2025. Council member Chip Smith from the 5th ward says right now that number is about 150 kilowatts a year.”

I checked the SolarYpsi map today and Ypsilanti has 184.6 kW of installed solar! This is pretty impressive for a city 1/5th the size.

solarypsi

In the spirit of friendly competition, I encourage all Ypsilantian to call a solar contractor today and get a quote for your home. The typical home needs about 5kW to be 100% solar powered, but something as small at 3kW can still make economic sense. At about $3/watt installed, so a 3kW system could cost about $10,000 and you’ll get 30% of that back on your Federal taxes.

SolarYpsi is also seeking funds to make solar rebates through the City. If anyone has any leads on philanthropic people/organizations that would be willing to fund a solar rebate project, please contact me.

Install some solar on your home today and keep Ypsilanti in the lead.

SolarYpsi gets a New Installation Page

As the number of solar installations grows in Ypsilanti and on the SolarYpsi website, it was getting harder to organize the data and cross checking the data to make sure everything was correct. (This is a GOOD problem!) Also, with the SolarYpsi.org developer, Nik Estep, moving on to other projects we needed to find a new developer and give them the task of making a new SolarYpsi installation page.

Introducing Josh Taylor from SAMSA. SAMSA is a web development company located in downtown Ypsilanti. SolarYpsi hired Josh to make some changes to the internals of the SolarYpsi website and to create a new “Installation” page for the website. Josh did a great job very quickly. The new page (screen shot below) now allows the visitor to sort the solar installations on the Name, Panel type, Inverter type, Installer, Wattage, Number of pictures, or the Video link. This make it quick to navigate the many different types of solar installations and also makes it easy for SolarYpsi to look for errors in the descriptions. Go ahead and clink the link to check it out.

SolarYpsi Installation Page

Please post any feedback to the new page layout in the comments. We can consider them for the next set of updates. If you’re walking around Ypsi’s downtown, wave to Josh through the windows at 7 S. Washington. (and look at the latest solar installation in progress at the Growing Hope Farmer’s Market.)

SolarYpsi_Install_Page

SolarYpsi on Michigan Radio’s Next Idea

SolarYpsi was featured on Michigan Radio’s “Stateside with Cynthia Canty” Next Idea. You can read their blog posting and hear the interview here.

What about donating solar power to Michigan non-profits?

Please let me know if you know of a donor willing to fund a solar project in Ypsilanti. I can pair them up with a non-profit(s) to install solar power on their building and lower their operating costs.

SolarYpsi 2015 Year in Review

2015 was another record year for solar installations in Ypsilanti with 8 new locations. Most of these came from our wonderful anonymous donor who funded solar projects on six non-profits in town. These locations included the Ypsi District Library, Parkridge Community Center, Ypsi Senior Center, Washtenaw International High School (WiHi), the Corner Health Center, and the Ypsi Department of Public Services (DPS on Forest). Add to this a couple of residential solar installations, and we’re climbing our way to a 1000 solar roofs.

SolarYpsi_Graph

While we’re only at 33 solar installations so far, Ypsilanti made a lot of progress towards a large solar farm in town. When DTE announced plans for a large solar installation near the Ann Arbor airport, the community rallied and started asking questions about the proposed solar installation for the City-owned property near exit 183 on I94. With over 800 signatures on a petition asking DTE to reevaluate Ypsilanti for a large solar installation, they found a suitable
location on the north end of town in the Highland Cemetery. So far, everything is on track for this project to start in the spring.

The Mott Foundation funded a report looking at the state of renewable energies in the State of Michigan and Ypsilanti was one of seven communities they investigated. The report showed that Ypsilanti had the most solar installations of all the communities! You can see the report here.

Eastern Michigan University continues to send students to learn about solar power first hand and several term papers have been written about solar power in Ypsilanti.

The SolarYpsi.org website continues to grow with a total of 63 locations on the website. If you haven’t seen the aerial videos that Cameron Getto has been putting together, you can check them out here. They are amazing!

SolarYpsi gave 17 face-to-face presentations in 2015 reaching another 282 people first hand and answering questions. These included one-on-one meetings with home owners and large events like the National Solar Tour and the annual Michigan Energy Fair.

Ypsilanti now has 173,635 watts of installed solar power or (173,635/19,809) 8.7 watts per capita. While this is still a tiny number, if we add in the proposed 800kW solar installation at the cemetery we’ll have (973,635/19,809) 49.1 watt per capita. If we can get a few more watts installed, we’ll be one of Environment America’s Shining Cities with over 50 watts per capita.

The only sad news this year was that our long time developer of the SolarYpsi.org website is moving on to new opportunities, and we need to find a new web developer.

Here’s to another banner year for solar power in 2016 bringing Ypsilanti closer to becoming a Solar Destination!

Double Dipping Your Year End giving

Solar-Home

As most of you know, SolarYpsi has not incorporated nor a 501(c)3, so we can’t directly receive any year end donations. However, I would like to suggest to everyone a way to “Double Dip” on your charitable contributions this year. Consider giving the gift of solar power instead of cash to your favorite charity.

Whether you love animal shelters, food banks, health centers, farmer’s markets, or any other organization doing great work, instead of giving cash consider giving a solar donation. This way you help both the charitable organization and grow solar power in our community.

Ask the organizations you support if they have solar power or would consider installing solar power on their building. Ask them if you can give a directed donation to go towards a solar installation on their building. If the organization needs help understanding solar power, SolarYpsi can help explain solar power and help them design a system for their building.

If we assume the receiving organization uses the same amount of power as a typical Michigan home of 600 kWh per month, a 5000 watt solar installation would make them 100% solar powered. A solar contractor should be able to install a typical system for about $3/watt, so a project would cost the organization about $15,000. Just yesterday I looked at my DTE bills for 2015 and added up all my charges and divide it by all the power I purchased and I’m paying about $0.19/kWh. This 5000 watt installation would make (20 kWh/day * $0.19/kWh * 365 days) $1,387 worth of power per year. A $15,000 donation for a solar installation would actually give the organization a minimum of $41,610 worth of power over the next 30 years.

The gift of solar power is the gift that keeps on giving and can supply power to an organization for the next 30 years! This frees up operations funds for doing more good in our community.

SolarYpsi Looking for a New Web Developer

SolarYpsi’s founding web developer, Nik Estep , is moving on to new projects, so we need to find a new person or company to take on the tasks of maintaining the website. The website uses MySQL, PHP, Google analytics, HTML, Google maps, cron jobs, Word Press, QR tags, and uses an API to pull data from the Enphase solar data collection site to plot locally on SolarYpsi. The website currently uses GitHub to manage bug fixes and feature requests.

The code base is very stable with over 60 solar installations map on the website. The content is added by other people, but the SolarYpsi web developer would need to fix occasional issues and implement new features as we grow the number of installations to hundreds of locations. Current feature requests include a way to sort the locations by size, installer, type of equipment, etc. We would also like to start pulling data from SolarEdge’s using their API. Any new ideas and/or feature would be welcomed.

Contact Dave@Strenski.com if you’re interested in helping out. We don’t have any money, so this would be a volunteer position.

How to Finance Your Solar Project

Lets say that you are convinced that solar is for your home and all the economics works, but you just can’t come up with the up front money to pay for your solar installation. There are several ways to finance a solar project, here are two different way.

Michigan Saves

1) Personal unsecured loans of $1,000 to $30,000 at fixed APR not to exceed 7%.

2) Extended loan terms of one year per $1,000 up to $4,999; customer can pick term up to 10 years for loans $5,000 and higher (e.g., sample monthly payment for 3-year, $3,000 loan at 7% APR is $93; a 7-year, $6,000 loan at 7% APR is $91).

3) Loans for home improvements such as: new windows and doors; new furnace, boiler or heat pump; new appliances such as washing machines, refrigerators or ceiling fans. See the home improvements page for a full list.

4) Web and phone-based loan application system with quick decisions (within minutes) to facilitate “dinner table” sales.

5) Low rates with affordable monthly payments; click here to see estimated monthly payments for Michigan Saves loans.

6) No home equity required (unsecured loans).

7) Available for owner-occupied, single-family (1 – 4 unit) homes.

8) Qualifying energy efficiency improvements must be recommended by a comprehensive, whole-home energy assessment conducted by a certified auditor, or selected from a list of Qualified Home Improvements.

The first step when applying for a Michigan Saves Home Energy Loan is to find an authorized contractor. The contractor will help you identify qualifying improvements and initiate the loan application process.

Admirals Bank

1) No equity or appraisal required

2) No prepayment penalties

3) Flexible loan terms

4) Fixed rates

5) Interest and HUD insurance fees may be tax deductible (consult your tax advisor)

6) No seasoning requirements

7) Borrowers looking for renewable energy products may apply any tax credits and/or local incentives to request a one-time re-amortization within the first 24 months of the funding date of the loan to lower, or ‘step down,’ monthly payments, provided certain requirements are met

8) Access to a team of renewable energy financing experts.

While I have never used either of these programs, Cameron Getto used Admirals for his solar projects and was very happy. Don’t let the up front payment deter you. Install solar power on your house today.

Petition Asking DTE to Build the Solar Array in Ypsilanti

DTE, Please Build your Solar Array In Ypsilanti

Dear DTE,

I love Ypsilanti and I support Solar. The Ypsilanti location is the smart choice for DTE and Ypsilanti and the solar farm as it reuses a landfill. The location has high visibility with over 100,000 cars pass it along I-94 every day and the property is immediately available. 

[signature]

814 signatures

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In the Fall of 2012, DTE Energy asked communities for locations to install a large solar array from 500KW up to 2MW. DTE said that they would prefer locations in Detroit and along major expressways like I-94. more.

Solar installer SunDurance and the City of Ypsilanti responded with a proposal to install the solar array on the long abandoned City owned landfill along I-94 near Huron Street, exit 183.

Ypsi-DTE-site

Here are a couple of news articles about the project.
Ypsilanti officials optimistic about proposed $4M DTE Energy solar project on former landfill
DTE Energy: Proposed $4M Ypsilanti solar array project moving onto final selection round
With Ann Arbor airport solar plans stalled, Ypsilanti re-pitches DTE for array near I-94

Ypsilanti is Shovel Ready. The City Council has already approved the agreement. The location meets DTE’s requirement for high visibility along I-94 with over 100,000 cars driving past every day. Old landfills are a perfect location for a solar array making use of land that would otherwise sit idle forever. A ballasted solar rack design has no ground penetrations and poses little to no risk of disturbing the landfill’s contents. Ypsilanti is already very pro solar and well on it’s way of making itself a “Solar Destination”. Here are some other solar landfill examples.
Solar Landfills: the Future?
Hickory Ridge Landfill Solar Energy Cover

Share this with your friends and ask everyone you know to sign the petition. You don’t have to live in Ypsilanti to sign the petition and only your Name and City will be shared with DTE.

Latest Signatures
814Michelle LabelleApr 08, 2016
813Dwayne ReidJul 24, 2015
812kaitlyn maysJul 03, 2015
811noah turcsanyiJul 03, 2015
810Cameron ThomasJun 23, 2015
809abigail smallMay 25, 2015
808Samuel FinebergMay 18, 2015
807Kay BrainerdMay 04, 2015
806brianna woodsApr 30, 2015
805Emily WingfieldApr 20, 2015
804valerie wellsApr 15, 2015
803Nancy AsherApr 14, 2015
802Robert SatchwellApr 12, 2015
801Augusto LeeApr 09, 2015
800Daniel VogtApr 09, 2015
799Inge GaenssleApr 08, 2015
798Drew PhillipApr 08, 2015
797Isaac WingfieldApr 01, 2015
796James FishelsonMar 31, 2015
795Mary BurtonMar 30, 2015
794Marnia hardy Mar 23, 2015
793Carola CarlierMar 23, 2015
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790Alex GoodingMar 22, 2015
789Blaise HebertMar 21, 2015
788Chuck MarshallMar 20, 2015
787Charlotte payneMar 19, 2015
786Adam RobsonMar 19, 2015
785Julie SeagravesMar 19, 2015
784Elizabeth MainMar 17, 2015
783TINA KILGOREMar 16, 2015
782Mary MullalondMar 15, 2015
781Catherine MullalondMar 15, 2015
780Henry BraunzMar 15, 2015
779Cheryl WeberMar 14, 2015
778Steven LongMar 14, 2015
777Liano SharonMar 14, 2015
776Angela PetersMar 14, 2015
775David DeRossettMar 12, 2015
774Daniel HoppeMar 12, 2015
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771Christine HumeMar 11, 2015
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767Margaret ArdenMar 11, 2015
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765Jake AlbersMar 11, 2015