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In 2017, GLREA will host 2-3 Energy Fairs around Michigan to tap into the exciting clean energy developments happening state wide. The 2017 slate will kick off with an inspirational two-day event, June 23-24, in Traverse City - where the Mayor and City Commission just committed to a goal of sourcing 100% renewables for its municipal electricity. The event will combine a high level conference on Friday featuring top-notch speakers from around the state and national keynotes with a hands-on Saturday fair featuring workshops and exhibitors. Please save the date and plan to join us for this exciting glimpse into the future of clean energy in Michigan.

Board officers were elected at the January Board meeting.  Dave Konkle continues as President.  Sarah Mullkoff continues as Vice-President.  Cary Church continues as Treasurer and John Sarver was elected Secretary.

Michigan Solar Solutions (MSS) started in late 2007 in Commerce Township (Oakland County) and recently opened their second office in Riverdale (Gratiot County).  MSS takes pride in their customer service.  They have completed over 200 jobs with an aggregate total of over two megawatts of smaller residential and commercial systems. They expect to install an additional 800 kW in 2017.  MSS President Mark Hagerty states, “we finally feel like we are starting to make a difference in helping Michigan transition from a centralized grid to a distributed grid”.  www.michigansolarsolutions.com

Lansing Board of Water & Light’s (BWL) first community solar park is now leasing panels to its electric customers. Once 80% of the 1,000 solar panels are leased, construction of the 300 kW array will begin at East Lansing’s Burcham Park, a retired landfill.  200 panels were leased in the first few days. Solar supporters will sign a 25-year lease and pay a single, upfront cost of $399 per panel. The BWL will provide a monthly on-bill credit to lessees based on the amount of solar energy generated per panel. The project team would like to see construction begin in time for the solar park to begin producing by Earth Day, April 22.  Sign up at micommunitysolar.org/sign-up/.   Questions: (517) 337-0422 ext. 4 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Governor’s Energy Excellence Award nominations are now open.  The awards honor innovators, educators, contractors, and projects that have reduced energy waste. Nominations may now be submitted online through March 31 for projects completed during 2016.  Winners will be announced in late summer.  www.mienergyexcellence.org

Brownfield Sites in the UP that could host more than 750 MW of solar have been identified by Michigan Energy Options.  Thesolar mapping toolspecifically looks at the areas around Marquette and Houghton. It lists 79 sites with 752 MW of solar potential, as well as each site’s proximity to transmission lines, substations and roads.  A2010 studyby the Land Policy Institute at MSU estimated 4,320 MW in wind and solar potential on brownfield sites across the state.  More details.


Smart Meter installation by Consumers Energy is in its final year.  Upgrades for Midland, Bay, Ingham, and Eaton counties start in the spring. Upgrades begin in the summer for Clinton, Clare, Gladwin, Gratiot, Isabella, and Shiawassee counties.  Smart meters have a communication chip inside that sends a daily message to the company with energy usage for the day.  Customers will be able to view online their hourly energy use.  Consumers has already installed 1.3 million electric and 350,000 gas communication modules.  More details.

Grand Valley State University students recently created devices that provide solar power when electricity fails at the Embangweni Mission Hospital in Malawi. Prolonged power outages for families seeking medical care in the African country can be a matter of life and death.  Last fall, the students made the 22-hour trip to southeastern Africa to deliver and install the portable power system.

More details.

MiSo, a solar house that has been exhibited at the Matthaei Botanical Gardens in Ann Arbor for the past 10 years is now going to serve as an off-grid house.  The aluminum house, designed and built by UM students and displayed on the Washington Mall for the 2005 Solar Decathalon, was purchased by a Grand Rapids couple who plan to move it to land they own near Evart. Outfitted with solar panels on its half-round roof and with a battery storage system inside, the 660 sq.ft. one-bedroom house doesn’t need external power.  More details.

President Obama wrote about clean energy policies in the Jan. 13 edition of the journal Science.  “The business case for clean energy is growing, and the trend toward a cleaner power sector can be sustained regardless of near-term federal policies.  I believe the trend toward clean energy is irreversible.”


Tesla’s Gigafactory in Nevada will feature 70 MW of solar on its roof, which would be the world's biggest rooftop PV array.  The all-electric factory will use no fossil fuels using a combination of rooftop and ground PV installations.  Construction of the facility is expected to be completed by 2018.  More details.


Costa Rica ran entirely on renewable energy for more than 250 days in 2016. Renewables supplied about 98.1 percent of Costa Rica's electricity for the year.  74% comes from hydro power, 13% from geothermal, and 10% from wind.  Biomass and solar power provide a tiny but growing share of electricity. More details.

Wind Turbine Technician has become America’s fastest growing job.  The Bureau of Labor Statisticssays the occupation will grow by 108 percent over the next decade. That blows past the second fastest growing job, occupational therapy assistant, projected to grow by 42%. Overall, wind power supported 88,000 well-paying jobs at the start of 2016 in all 50 states. 21,000 of these are manufacturing jobs at more than 500 factories that build wind turbines and parts.  More details.

Midcontinent ISO has integrateda solar farm into its wholesale market for the first time. The 100 MW North Star solar farm outside of Minneapolis is the largest solar facility in the Midwest and will sell its output to Xcel Energy.  Several large solar farms have been built in the MISO region, but North Star is the first that can trade its electrical output in the wholesale energy market.  More details.

New Energy Jobs Report from DOE shows steady job growth in energy efficiency and renewable energy.  The solar industry expanded nationally from 300,192 jobs in 2015 to 373,807 in 2016, a 24.5% increase. Wind jobs grew from 77,088 to 101,738, a 32% increase. Energy efficiency jobs increased by 133,000 to 2.2 million in 2016.  More details.

Michigan’s First PHIUS Certified Passive House has been built in Freeland.  On Saturday, Feb. 11, 11:30 am-12:45 pm, you can participate in an person or virtual tour of the home.  Register here.

State Energy Legislation overview will be presented by Sarah Mullkoff, GLREA Policy Chair, on Thursday, March 16, 5:30-6:30 pm at Michigan Energy Options, 405 Grove St. in E. Lansing. New state energy bills were enacted at the very end of the “lame duck” session in Dec. Come find out what happened!

Michigan Geothermal Energy Assoc. annual conference will be April 26 & 27 at Soaring Eagle Resort in Mt Pleasant.   The annual meeting and dinner will be Wednesday evening April 26 and the Conference will be on Thursday morning April 27.  The keynote speaker will be Trevor Lauer, President of Detroit Edison.

ASES’s 46th annual conference, “SOLAR 2017: Building a 100% Renewable Energy Community,” will be held October 9-12 in Denver, between the weekends of public days at the U.S. DOE Solar Decathlon.  ASES has issued a call for participation.  Submit Poster, ~switch, Technical Session abstracts, or Forum and Workshop proposals here.

This newsletter is free.  If you would like to subscribe, send a note to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  Interested in getting information on energy programs and issues more frequently, visit our Facebook page and “like” us. Interested in supporting renewable energy and becoming a GLREA member, you can join here.  


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Long time GLREA member Dan Alway passed away September 21, 2015. Dan was a renewable energy pioneer and advocate who worked tirelessly to promote renewable energy. Dan was involved in many things over the years including Kalamazoo Nature Center and a scoutmaster. GLREA has started the Dan Alway Memorial Scholarship which will be awarded annually to a student entering higher education.

James Carter, GLREA Board Member and 2016 President passed away June 21, 2016. Jim was a dedicated renewable energy advocate. Jim's integrity, zest for life and intelligence will be missed. Donate in Jim's memory.

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