Tag Archives: EMU

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.


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!

City of Ypsilanti to Consider Resolution for a 1000 Solar Roofs

Last spring Environment Michigan approached SolarYpsi and encouraged us to propose a bold goal for a 1000 solar roofs in Ypsilanti. City Council was interested, but the quest came up as to whether there were a thousand available roof in Ypsi with good solar exposure.

Well it’s taken a while to get the data organized, but Profess William Welsh from Eastern Michigan University has overlaid tree cover maps with property boundary maps with building foot print maps. Just looking at residential properties Bill and his grad student Ben have been able to identify over 5000 roof tops with at lease some portion of their roof not covered by tress. They have also identified over a thousand residential roof with south facing roof pitches with good solar exposure.

So the question has been answered yes we have a thousand roof with good solar exposure and many more if we look at roof with partial exposure and even more if we consider commercial roofs.

City Council will be considering a resolution Tuesday night, Sept 3, supporting a resolution for a 1000 solar roofs. You can see the agenda here.

Passing this resolution will show Ypsilanti’s commitment to solar and renewable energies. This will not only save Ypsi residents money on their power bill but will also make Ypsilanti a “Solar Destination” attracting people and businesses to our town.

Environment Michigan made a very nice report about this project.

You can see the report here.

Once the resolution is passed we plan on sending a letter to the home owners in the City with good solar exposure and encourage them to consider solar power for their roofs.

Come to the City Council meeting and support this project. Help make Ypsilanti a “Solar Destination”.

SolarYpsi supplies 3% of the Heritage Festival Power

SolarYpsi had a successful weekend at the Ypsilanti Heritage festival last weekend. Initially we wanted to install 5 kW of solar panels, but a last minute shipping issue meant we could only get our hands on 2.3 kW. (Thanks Stefan for letting us borrow your solar panels again!)

With a small crew, we were able to install the system in one day and were up and running Friday morning. I counted about 400 people that stopped by and asked questions about solar power and how to install it on their homes and businesses. One person said that he came from Plymouth just to talk to us about solar power. It was a fun weekend and many thanks to Steve Pierce and Amy Strutz for hanging out at the booth and answering questions.

We turned the system off on Friday at 5:00pm and the inverter showed that we had generated 36 KWH over the weekend. Riverside Park has three utility meters that feed the park and I read them before and after the festival. Not counting the generator near the beer tent, the festival consumed 1296 KWH over the weekend. So we supplied 3% of the power with our small solar installation. If we could have left it up for a month, we could have offset the whole festival.

The system will be installed at the Fantasee Lighting warehouse in Belleville in the coming month and we’ll be adding it to the SolarYpsi website. Until then here are some pictures from the festival.

Powering our small "House&quot
Here are the solar panels powering our small “House”. We had a utility meter on the back of the house spinning backwards.
Table of Information
Table of different parts used in a solar installation with some product literature.
ShadePlex portable power generation
ShadePlex portable power generation
Here is a map generated by EMU professor Bill Welsh and his grad student Ben showing over a 1000 residential roofs with good solar exposure.
Here is a map generated by EMU professor Bill Welsh and his grad student Ben showing over a 1000 residential roofs with good solar exposure.
Once again WirelessYpsi was at the festival providing free solar powered wireless internet access.
Once again WirelessYpsi was at the festival providing free solar powered wireless internet access.