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Are You Looking to Install a Solar Energy System?

The Great Lakes Renewable Energy Association (GLREA) is a trade association of businesses that install renewable energy systems - solar, wind and geothermal. If you are interested in a renewable energy system and would like to learn more about how they work and how you can save money for your home, business, farm or place of worship, then contact GLREA and we can have one or more of our energy contractors get in touch with you. These energy contractors will explain how solar works (or wind and geothermal) and what the process is to install a system. They can even help you get a low-interest loan to pay for the system. So if you want to save money and help protect our environment, consider installing your own renewable energy system and generate your own clean power! Please contact John Freeman by emailing at Jfreeman13@comcast.net or by calling at 313 655-7945.

2018 Michigan Solar Home Tour and Open House - Saturday October 6

American Solar Energy Society’s (ASES) National Solar Home Tour is the nation’s largest grassroots solar event.  More than 150,000 participants will visit some 5,000 buildings across America.  The Great Lakes Renewable Energy Association (the Michigan State Chapter of ASES), assists volunteer coordinators to organize solar home tours and open houses that members of the public can visit.

Now in its 23rd year, this event offers an opportunity for people to learn about solar by seeing a home with a solar system and by talking to the owner or the contractor that installed the solar system.  The goal is to help homeowners and business learn how solar energy and energy efficiency can save money, lessen our dependence on fossil fuels and help prevent climate change.  All events are free for anybody to attend.  Kids are welcome!

Tours are being held Saturday, October 6 (unless otherwise noted) in the following communities: 

Caro:  10:00 am - 2:00 pm

Visit a home in a rural setting to discuss the benefits and cost savings of a solar system. Come to 2090 Riley Rd, Caro MI 48723 where the sun powers the whole home.  Great for off-grid capabilities and self-reliance.  Contact Doug Barth for more information at Euphonium_B@yaoo.com

Chelsea:  10:00 am - 4:00 pm

The tour begins at the Chelsea District Library, 221 S. Main, where you can pick up a listing of tour sites and other valuable information.  Contact Cary Church for more information at Cshurch@comcast.net or (734) 433-0654.

Clarkston: 10:00 am - 2:00 pm

Visit a home at 8221 Foster Rd that has solar and a new LG Chem and STORedge battery system.  Contact Jessie Smith for more info at (734) 478-8708.


10:00 am - 4:00 pm: Come visit a 100% solar energy home at 509 Sherbrooke St, Commerce Twp 48382.  Contact Mark Haggerty for more information at Mhagerty@michigansolarsolutions.com or (248) 520-2474

10:00 am - 2:00 pm:  Come visit a home at 4522 Racewood Dr, that was featured by Sheri Margolis on FOX 2 News.  Contact Don King for more information at (313) 820-4526. 

Detroit: 10:00 am – 12:00 noon.
This will be a biking tour around Midtown.  If you don’t have a bike we are working on providing passes for MoGo Bike Rentals for the tour.  We will provide the route ahead of time if you would like to drive and meet us at the sites.  Contact Ben Dueweke for more information at duewekeb@gmail.com or (313) 819-9015, or by going to the Tour website at www.detroitgreenmap.com/DETSolarTour 

Holland Area:  Starting at 9:00 am

This event will showcase homes with solar systems installed by Harvest Energy Solutions in and around Holland.  The tour will start at historical Dorr E. Felt Estate at 6597 138th Ave, Holland, 49423 (http://www.feltmansion.org/sustainability/)

Ken Zebarah, Harvest Energy’s Michigan Manager for Michigan, will be on site at the Felt Mansion to detail the estate’s Laketown community solar garden, discuss renewable energy and answer any questions.  After showcasing the Laketown community solar garden, Ken will show you other agricultural and commercial solar projects in the area.  Information on these other sites will be provided at the Felt Mansion.  Contact Ken for more information at Kzebarah@harvestenergysolutions.com or (734) 790-0673

Lansing: 8:30 am -10:45 am

The program starts at the Meridian Township Hall, 5151 Marsh Rd, Okemos. Coffee & bagels and visiting will begin at 8:30-9:00 am followed by presentations about Meridian Township’s new 20 kW ground mount system, Haslett Community Church’s 20 kW rooftop system and a local business system.  From 10:00-10:15 there will be a tour of the Township PV system and from 10:30-10:45 there will be a tour of the HCC system.  Contact John Sarver for more information at JohnSarver3@gmail.com or (517) 290-8602

Linden: 12:00 pm – 2:00 pm

Look at a home solar system at 15079 Lindbergh Ct.  For pictures and information about this 7.6 kilowatt solar system go to http://lindenairporthouse.blogspot.com/2017/04/solar.html  Contact Reid Baldwin for more information at reid.a.baldwin@gmail.com

Livingston County:  Sat October 6, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm, and Sun October 7, 12:00 noon – 5:00 pm.  

Come visit a Green Farm at 10192 Sargent Rd Fowlerville, Mi. 48836 to view a historical farm retrofitted with Wind & Solar Energy, Biomass Heating Equipment, Decomposing Toilet, Rainwater Collection & Organic Farming practices.  Contact Thomas Reinke for more information at thmrein@aol.com or (517) 256-2322

Riverdale: 10:00 am - 4:00 pm

Come visit the Michigan Solar Solutions office at 11780 NW Monroe St (M46) in Riverdale.  The office building is completely run on renewable energy with its solar array, solar tubes for lighting and a solar powered attic fan.  Contact Mark Hagerty for more information at Mhagerty@michigansolarsolutions.com or (248) 520-2474

Saline: 11:00 am - 3:00 pm

Visit a 1890 two story wood framed Victorian cross gable house at 104 West McKay St. Saline, MI in downtown Saline.  This home has been restored and updated to near net zero with upgrades to insulation, windows, geothermal heating and cooling and a 10 kilowatt solar system including a 1 kilowatt stand alone battery backup generator.  The house supplies power to charge 2 electric cars.  There is a city parking lot across the street.  Contact Bruce Westlake for more information at Bruce.westlake@gmail.com

Traverse City

The Northern Michigan Shines Solar Tourwill highlight the booming solar industry in Northern Michigan.  From small rooftop arrays to large commercial scale projects, the Groundwork Center for Resilient Communities and community partners have designed the Tour to highlight the customers, installers, and local champions that make Northern Michigan Shine.  Contact Dan Worth for more information at Dan@groundworkcenter.org or (617) 610-7399

Ypsilanti: Sunday, October 7, 10:00 am - 4:00 pm
Visit several solar installations within the City of Ypsilanti.  The Tour will start at the Ypsilanti Freighthouse located at 100 Market Place in Ypsilanti's Historic Depot Town.  Dave Strenski, founder of SolarYpsi (SolarYpsi.org) will be providing solar presentations and will answer any questions you might have.  From there it's a short walk or drive to see different examples of solar installations from a 1 kilowatt on the roof of a small house to a 800 kilowatt in Highland Cemetery.

If you can’t make the tour, check out the virtual solar tour on at www.SolarYpsi.org/AerialVideos.html.  If you want to learn more about how solar works, please watch our solar talk at www.SolarYpsi.org/TEDxVideo.html.  Contact Dave Stenski for more information at Dave@strenski.com or (734) 383-9077

For more information on the Solar Home Tour and Open House contact John Freeman at Jfreeman13@comcast.net or (313) 655-7945. 

Thank you to our GLREA Solar Home Tour Sponsors:

Art Toy - Four Elements Energy www.fourelements-energy.com

Mark Haggerty - MI Solar Solutions www.michigansolarsolutions.com

TJ Kanczuzewski - Inovateus Solar www.inovateussolar.com

Don King - Solar King www.solarkingmi.com

Mike & Roz Linsea - Solar Winds www.thesolarwinds.com


Michigan PSC Announces its Decision on the Distributed Energy Tariff

The Michigan Public Service Commission (PSC) announced its decision on April 18, 2018 regarding the new 'distrbtuted energy tarrif that will evntaully replace the current net mtering systrm. The PSC has been working on this in a year long process of studying and ultimately determining the amount of the so called ‘distributive energy tariff.’ The Public Service Commission was ordered to conduct this process by the Michigan Legislature in Public Act 341 and 342 that were enacted in December 2016.

The PSC adobted a new system called the 'In-flow / Out-flow billing mechanism. When a customer buys energy from the utility (solar or non-solar) they will pay the normal retail rate. But when a solar owner wants to sell excess electrivity generated from their solar system back to the utility, they will be compensated at the utility's advoided cost. Although this exact amount won't be known for a while, which is explained below, the PSC
Staff has estimated it at around 9.5 - 10 cents per kilowatt hour. This amount is less than the current net metering amount where a solar owner is compensated at the retail rate for selling electricity back to the utility.

The key isse that was debated during this process, is whether renewable energy users are paying their fair share to maintain the ‘grid’ or network of electrical wires that distribute electricity, or not. The utilities argue that solar owners are not paying their fair share, whereas solar advocates contend that the utilities are not being honest regarding the true value of the solar energy they get from solar owners. Utilities can take this excess solar electricity that they receive from solar owners and turn right around and sell it to any customer at full retail rate. This means that utilities may not have to bring on the older, expensive and in many cases dirtier plants when the demand for electicity is really high in the summer months when people are running their air conditioners. This is when solar energy is most productive and most helpful to the utilities.

The next step in the process is that the exact amount of this distributed tariff will be determined when each utility files its next rate case after June 1, 2018. GLREA and other solar advocates will be working iduring these proceedings to contend that 9.5 cents per kilowatt hour is too low and doesn't fully reflect the true value of solar eelctricity to the utilty.

These rate cases generally take 10 months from start to finish so at a miniumun from now to next April in 2019, the current net metering rules will continue to operate and the amout of compensation that solar users are being credited at for selling electricity back to the utility will be at the retail rate. In addition, if a homeowner or business installs a renewable eenrgy system prior to the implementation of this new distrbuted tariff, they can contiue to operate under the current net metering rules for another 10 years. Ten years is generally a decent amount of time for most solar owners to pay off their system in savings from buying utility electricity. Furthermore, its not clear that the utilities will file a rate case immediately after June 1st. They may not file for several months in which case the whole process gets pushed back and the current net meteirng rules will continue to operate for that much longer.

This ‘distributed energy tariff’ is very important to the future of renewable energy in Michigan. If this tariff is set too low, then it may take solar users longer to pay off their system which could undermine the expansion of renewable eenrgy in Michigan. But on the other hand if the utilities keep pushing to pay the least amount to solar owners for their excess solar electrcity, this could back fire on them because with the cost of battery storage coming down so dramtically, solar owners could build into their system battery storage, so rather than selling excess electricity to the utility, they just store it in the batteries and use it at night and cut out the utility all together.

We will continue to keep you posted on developments. If you have any questions please contact John Freeman at Jfreeman13@comcast.net.

GLREA Membership Drive

Great Lakes Renewable Energy Association's mission, is to expand renewable energy in Michigan. We do this by educating homeowners, farmers and business about the benefits of renewable energy and we also work to develop public policy that supports the expansion of renewable energy. But for GLREA to do this work we need all supporters to become a member of this organization. GLREA is only as strong as its membership! We need all current members to renew their dues and we want new people to join the organization. Your dues money pays for staff and for putting on events and activities. Because we are a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, dues are tax deductible. Please go to the membership link on this website and renew your dues or sign up as a member for the first time. If you have any questions please contact John Freeman Jfreeman13@comcast.net or call at 313 655-7945. Thank-you!

GLREA: 2018 Renewable Energy Photo Contest

GLREA is pleased to announce the 2018 Renewable Energy Photo Contest!

We are doing this for the simple reason that pictures of renewable energy systems are beautiful because they look serene and peaceful and we know by looking at them that they are generating clean electrical energy that doesn't pollute the environment or generate carbon dioxide that is causing climate change. It would be a major stretch to look at a picture of a coal operating powerplant and say that it is beautiful. But we can with solar systems and wind turbines. So we encourage all our Members or even Non-Members to submit pictures of your favorate renewable energy systems.

Here are the rules:

Photos must be taken in 2018 and they must be submitted by November 30, 2018. There are two categories of awards - Individual and Business. Each photo submitted must identify which category it falls under. Pictures submitted by an Individual must be of a renewable energy system, event or scene in Michigan. Pictures submitted by a Business must be of a renewable energy system they intalled or a renewable energy event they participated in. If submitted under the Business category, the business name must be included.

Each photo submitted must be indentified with the submitter's name, email address and a paragraph telling the story about the photo. Each contestant may submit up to 5 photo's in each category. Photo's should be submitted in a .jpg format and emailed to Dave Konkle at Konkle@toast.net.

Winners will be announced and prizes awarded at the GLREA Annual Meeting in December. Prizes will include Public Recognition, winning Pictures posted on the GLREA Website and a Plaque.

We encourage all Members to participate! This is a fun event but we take it seriously as part of our Mission of educating the public about solar and other forms of renewable energy, because as the old adage says 'a picture is worth a thousand words'!

If you have any further questions or comments contact John Freeman at Jfreeman13@comcast.net. Thanks!