The 24th Annual Michigan Solar Home Tour goes virtual amidst pandemic

The 2020 Michigan Solar Home tour hosted by the Great Lakes Renewable Energy Association took place Saturday, October 3, over Zoom instead of the traditional walkthrough home tour. The annual event is in its 24th year.  

In previous years, people would showcase their home or businesses’ solar systems throughout Michigan. Due to the virtual nature of the event, guests were able to see every solar system. The tour, which went from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., allowed guests to understand how solar energy can reduce your monthly energy bill while promoting a clean environment. A typical “tour” used Zoom’s screen-sharing tool in which speakers showed pictures and statistics of their solar systems.

Twelve people showcased their solar system, including MSU Professor David Arnosti.

State energy bill could increase costs for solar users

Capital News Service
LANSING — Environmental and renewable energy advocates are concerned that proposed legislation would discourage investment in clean energy. Sen. Mike Nofs, R-Battle Creek, introduced bills in 2015 to meet the state’s energy requirements as coal plants continue to shut down as utilities use cleaner fuel sources over the next three years. The bills have passed the Senate and await action by the House, where Nofs said he hopes to see them pass before the end of the year.. But some supporters of alternative energy say that new language added to the bill would create a utilities charge for state residents who use solar power to generate their electricity. The bill does not specify the amount, but gives the Public Service Commission the power to decide how much it would be.

Solar power projects heat up across Michigan

Capital News Service
LANSING — Michigan’s solar future is so bright that advocates say you might have to wear shades. Assuming all goes as planned, Michigan may soon see a solar project nearly 50 times larger than its largest existing installation. The state’s biggest solar project now operating is a 1.1 megawatt generator owned by DTE Energy in Ann Arbor, said John Sarver, president of the Great Lakes Renewable Energy Association. “But there are much bigger projects planned, including 10 megawatts at Michigan State University and 20 megawatts with the Lansing Board of Water & Light,” Sarver said. DTE is constructing a 1.9-megawatt solar array that will be the largest in the state when it comes on line at the end of the year, said DTE communications specialist Vanessa Waters.

Michigan’s renewable energy movement moves on

By Asha Dawsey
Listen Up, Lansing

The Michigan mitten will be raising its green thumb even higher by the end of 2015, with a goal to rise the usage of renewable energy to 10 percent for utilities within. In 2008 legislation was passed for renewable energy in the state of Michigan in which it has risen the from being 1.8 percent in 2007 to 8.1 percent in 2014 and rising to meet the goal of 10 percent, said Media Relations and Communication Specialist of the MPSC Judy Palnau. According to a report from Michigan Public Service Commission, Public Act 295 requires the state’s investor-owned utilities, alternative retail suppliers, electric cooperatives and municipal electric utilities to generate 10 percent of their retail electricity sales from renewable energy resources by 2015. “It adds to the state’s fuel diversity,” said Palnau. Michigan’s dependence on coal generation has been declining as a result of flat power demand and the growth of cleaner, more affordable alternatives like natural gas and wind, according to a Union of Concerned Scientists report.