Great Lakes Energy News – November 2017

Great Lakes Energy News

November 2017

GLREA NewsGLREA Annual Meeting will be held on Saturday, Dec. 2, 11:30-3:00 at the Lansing Brewing Company, 518 E Shiawasee, Lansing. The meeting will include lunch, a keynote speaker, an update on GLREA activities, presentation of GLREA awards, and election of new board members.  See old friends and make new friends.  Open to the public and all are welcome to attend.  Save the date!  Please pre-register here.

Annual Solar Home Tour activities in 10 Michigan communities attracted 151 persons interested in learning about solar energy.  Local tour coordinators reported that attendees are seriously looking into solar options and found it helpful to talk to solar owners.  The photo above shows the solar tour by bicycle that was held in Detroit.  Interested in organizing a solar tour in your community next spring or fall send a note to

Michigan News

House Bill No. 5143, introduced by Rep. Tom Barrett on October 19, would exempt “alternative energy personal property” from property taxes.  Alternative energy personal property means alternative energy systems, alternative energy vehicles, and all personal property of alternative energy technology businesses. More details.

Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority (DDA) recently performed a solar feasibility analysis on downtown parking roofs.  The analysis recommended an 11 kW pilot project at a surface parking lot to observe the feasibility of using carport structures for solar collectors.  Contact Dave Konkle at

Madonna University’s Solar Panels received a blessing by Rev. Charles Morris.  Between Madonna U and the Felician Sisters campus, more than 1,000 solar panels have been installed within the last year.  Fr. Charles has also blessed other renewable energy sources including the wind turbines near Mackinaw City.  More details.

Michigan Agency for Energy has awarded 57 rebates and four grants for light emitting diode (LED) lighting since October of last year. 30,815 LED light fixtures have been installed resulting in annual savings of more than 4.2 million kWhs.  In total, 113 applications were submitted for the $400,000 in funding that was available.

Holland’s Public Utility started its On-Bill Loan Program to improve the city’s inefficient housing stock.  The average project size is $14,255 with an average of 8.6 measures installed.  31 households have completed improvements and are making monthly payments as part of their utility bill.  More details.

Peter Sinclair, videographer for the Yale Climate Connection, flew a drone in Gratiot and Wexford counties, producing this beautiful video about wind farms.  Watch the video.

Michigan’s Largest Solar Park, 48 MW and 200,000 panels on more than 250 acres, is now up and running in Lapeer. DTE operates a total of 13 wind parks and 31 solar arrays across the state.  More details.

Meridian Township has joined the list of municipalities committed to a 100% renewable energy goal.  The township board has approved a Climate Sustainability Plan that includes a commitment of 100% renewable energy for electricity used in township operations by 2035.  Grand Rapids, Traverse City, and Northport have previously made commitments to 100% renewable energy. More details.

Governor’s Energy Excellence Awards were given to 8 individuals and organizations for their efforts to reduce energy waste. The winners were announced by Gov. Rick Snyder and honored at a ceremony in Detroit on October 19.  Innovator of the Year went to Holland Energy Fund and Best Communication or Education Program went to Consumers Energy.  Best Agriculture Project went to Friske Orchards in Charlevoix. Other winners and what they accomplished can be found here. 

Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) is seeking input on developing pilot programs related to plug-in electric vehicle deployment and infrastructure.  MPSC
is committed to developing electrification programs by addressing regulatory issues within its authority.  Pilot programs will help answer questions around rate design, impact on the electrical grid, customer education, and the role of the utility in infrastructure deployment. Comments must be submitted by 5 p.m. Nov. 17 to  Please reference U-18368.

Beyond Michigan

DOE has proposed rulemaking to ensure that baseload coal and nuclear generators can recover their costs.  This would supposedly enhance the resilience of the nation’s electric system. DOE has directed the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to open a rulemaking proceeding to provide “full recovery of costs” for power plants that keep 90 days of fuel supplied onsite. More details.

General Motors is planning for a future in which none of its cars or trucks will be powered by gasoline or diesel.  Company leaders aren’t sure when this will happen, but have announced that they will introduce at least 20 new all-electric vehicles by 2023.  Jaguar, Volvo, and Volkswagen have said they will electrify their lineups within the next decade. More details.

World Solar Challenge, the bi-annual contest first run in 1987, began with 41 vehicles setting off on a 1,860-mile trip through the heart of Australia. A Dutch car, Nuna 9, won the race for the third-straight time maintaining an average speed of 55.5 mph. The University of Michigan Solar Car Team finished second.  They were competing in the challenger class, single seat, aerodynamic vehicles built for sustained endurance and efficiency. But there was also a cruiser class, introduced to bridge the gap between high-end technology and everyday driving.  A Dutch team, Eindhoven, was crowned overall champion based on design, practicality, energy efficiency, and innovation.  More details.

Four Swiss Universities came together to build the US Department of Energy’s 2017 Solar Decathlon overall winner. Eleven teams competed to build a home taking into account modern global demands of reliability, resilience, and security.  More details.

Sonnen’s Newest US project with Mandalay Homes will soon have 3,000 homes in Prescott, Arizona producing, storing, and sharing power.  Each home in the new community will have solar PV and a sonnenBatteried.  The energy storage systems will be interconnected and able to communicate with each other.  Together the homes will serve as a virtual power plant with a capacity of 23 MWh and output of 11.6 MW. More details.

World’s First Floating Offshore Wind Farm has started delivering electricity to the grid in Scotland.  The Hywind project, built by Norwegian oil company Statoil ASA and Masdar Abu Dhabi Future Energy, has 5 turbines floating 16 miles off the coast of Peterhead. The 30 MW project cost $263 million to construct. Some of the energy generated will be stored in Batwind lithium batteries. More details.


Solar Stuff: Everything is Going Solar will be hosted by GLREA and the Lansing Area Solar Users Network at Michigan Energy Options, 405 Grove St., E. Lansing on Nov. 16, 5:30-6:30 pm.  Solar panels that produce electricity have become more common, but what about other solar equipment that you can buy to become part of the solar revolution.  Heidi Porter will discuss a variety of “solar stuff” including phone chargers, yard lights, grills, and lawn mowers.

Grand Rapids and Wyoming have joined PACE and Lean & Green Michigan is holding a contractor training in Grand Rapids on Nov. 16, 1:30-5:30. Cost of training is $150.
Register here

Solar Open House will be held on Saturday, Nov. 18, 1:00-3:00 pm at Heidi Porter’s house, 2335 Huron Hill Dr., Okemos.  The 3.4 kW, 12 panel array is roof mounted on the garage. The system uses micro-inverters to optimize power production.  Come talk to the owner and learn about solar power.  No cost.  Please RSVP to johnsarver3@gmail.comand please arrive at 1:00 pm.

Agricultural Solar Electric Investment Analysis Webinar sponsored by MSU Extension will be held weekly Jan. 18 to Feb. 22.  Each webinar is 60 minutes and starts at 7:00 p.m.  This six part webinar series will provide practical guidance to farmers and others who are considering a solar electric system.

This newsletter is free.  If you would like to subscribe, send a note to  Interested in getting information on energy programs and issues more frequently, visit our Facebook page and “follow” us. Interested in supporting renewable energy and becoming a GLREA member, you can join here.


RLS ENERGY 517.930.7290

7290 Island Hwy • Eaton Rapids, MI 48827

Home | About Us | Services | Products | Projects | Testimonials | Resources | Contact Us

Member of Great Lakes Renewable Energy Association