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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

The 2017 GLREA Michigan Solar Home and Sustainability Tour was a great success! We had over 144 people come to various locations in Michigan to learn about solar. This was the 22nd year that GLREA has organized these Solar Home Tours. This Michigan Solar Home Tour is a part of the National Solar Home Tour Day organized by the American Solar Energy Society, where more than 150,000 participants will visit over 5,000 homes and buildings across the United States.

Organizing has begun for the 2018 Solar Home Tour in Michigan! We are looking to build upon the success of 2017 for even a bigger series of tours in 2018. GLREA organized Tours in eight communities in 2017. All events are free for anybody to attend. We want to thank our Local Coodinators and Sponsors for these events! They are listed below.

We think these Solar Tours are a very effective way of educating people about solar and encouraging them to install their own system. When prospective solar owners can talk to other homeowners about why they installed a solar system, this can help to convince people to make the investment.

If you want to help with the planning of these Solar Tours contact John Sarver at JohnSarver3@gmail.com.

Ann Arbor - Go to www.AnnArborSolarTour.org for tour sites. Contact Karen Watanabe for more info KareneWatanabe@gmail.com

Chelsea - Tour starts at Chelsea District Library, 221 S. Main. Contact Cary Church for more info cshurch@comcast.net

Commerce Twp - Visit a 100% solar energy home at 509 Sherbrooke St, Commerce. Contact Mark Hagerty for more info Mhagerty@michigansolarsolutions.com and visit a home featured by Sheri Margolis on FOX 2 News at 4522 Racewood Dr, Commerce. Contact Don King for more info 313 820-4526.

Clarkston - Visit a home that has solar and the all new LG Chem and STORedge battery. 8221 Foster Rd, Clarkston. Contact Jessie Smith for more info 734 478-8708

Detroit - www.detroitgreenmap.com/DetSolarTour Contact Ben Dueweke for more info duewekeb@gmail.com

Fowlerville - Home and business tour; solar, wind, biomass, rainwater collection and organic farming. 10192 Sargent Rd, Fowlerville. Contact Tom Reinke for more info selfreliantenergy@yahoo.com 517 256-2322

Grand Rapids - Contact Mike Linsea for more info solarmike@mei.net 269 664-8000

Mid-Michigan - Visit a "net zero" energy building at 11780 NW Monroe St in Riverdale, MI. Contact Mark Hagerty for more info Mhagerty@michigansolarsolutions.com

Ypsilanti - Visit up to 36 homes within Ypsilanti. Contact Dave Strenski for more info Dave@strenski.com 734 383-9077

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!