Last summer Ypsilanti was recognized as a Gold SolSmart city. This made Ypsi the first and only city in Michigan to receive this award for their progress installing solar power throughout our community. The Gold award is achieved by accumulating points in different categories that makes your city “solar ready”. You need 60 points for Bronze, 100 points for Silver, and 200 points for Gold. The final point tally for Ypsi was 360 points! The SolSmart team also awards cities that excelled in specific categories. At last month’s ICMA (International City/County Management Association) annual conference in San Antonio, Ypsilanti was given awards for excelling in the “Planning, Zoning, and Development” and “Community Engagement” categories.
We have broken through the myth of “too cloudy, too costly”. Let’s keep the momentum going and put more solar power in Ypsilanti. A few more megawatts and we’ll be the national leader for solar power per capita.
Check out the current copy of Natural Awakenings, it has a general article about solar power and a small side bar about SolarYpsi. You can find this magazine at many local businesses in the Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor area.
(YPSILANTI, MI) June 1, 2017: The City of Ypsilanti is pleased to announce that it has been awarded a Gold designation for supporting solar energy development by SolSmart, a national organization dedicated to helping communities reduce barriers to solar energy growth. To achieve the Gold designation, a community must take steps to streamline solar panel installation permitting, track key metrics regarding solar installation, and commit to encouraging local solar installations. Ypsilanti is the only community in Michigan to achieve this award, and one of only 58 communities nationwide.
Two years ago SolarYpsi received an anonymous donation that was used to install solar power on six non-profits in Ypsilanti. HomePower magazine just published an article about that project. You can read it online here. SOLUTIONS: PV Installations for Nonprofits
Just got these documents from John Sarver at the GLREA. A little light reading for the weekend. According to John, this is the final legislation that was passed last night and on its way to get signed by the Governor.
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.
May I suggest another idea for your donation? Consider turning that $70M into14,000 $5000 solar rebates and making them available to the residents, businesses, and non-profits in Kalamazoo. A typical Michigan home needs about 5000 watts of solar power to cover their annual electric bill. This typical installation would cost the owner about $15,000. With a solar rebate program and the 30% Federal Renewable Tax credit, a solar installation in Kalamazoo would cost the owner about $5000, with another $5000 coming from the rebate and $5000 coming for the tax credit.
Imagine the positive effect a solar rebate program like this would have on your city. With the matching tax credit and the home owners portion, it would inject $210M into the local economy. Imagine the solar contractors flocking to your city to compete for 14,000 solar installations. With Kalamazoo’s population of 75,000 people and approximately 29,000 households, this solar rebate program could give about HALF the people in Kalamazoo solar power. The result of which would be effectively paying their electric bills for the next 30 years! Imagine what those residents would do with that extra cash every month. Imagine a city government with no monthly electric bill. Imagine how this would effect the many non-profit organizations around town giving them the ability to direct more money towards their programs and not on electric bills.
SolarYpsi is trying to do exactly this in Ypsilanti. We’ve been working on building the number of solar installation in Ypsi and are currently around 50-watt per capita, making us one of the top cities in the nation for solar power per capita. We have a solar rebate plan in place with the City and some local organizations, but are still looking for a large donation to make it happen. If you’d like to test this idea, Ypsi would love to have a $5M donation to be a Kalamazoo prototype. Help Build a 5Megawatt Solar Power Plant on the Roofs of Ypsilanti
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.
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.
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.
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.)