(City of Ferndale Press Release, Aug. 27, 2013)
Michigan is part of a national race to get affordable solar installed on homes and small businesses. The MI Solar Works program is bringing together a variety of partners around the state to bring down solar prices and get systems installed through an innovative community approach and nonprofit and private partnerships. Systems are available for no money down and use Michigan products to stimulate the local economy.
MI Solar Works is being implemented through a series of community based pilots to save permitting and approval costs. Sign-up for the Royal Oak, Ferndale, & Ypsilanti pilots ends September 30th. After that time, communities who have at least 20 interested people signed up will be the next community pilots.
The US Department of Energy created the Race to the Rooftops to encourage the solar industry to break through the price barrier for solar. The first phase of the race is to see who can install 5,000 systems at the low cost of $3 per installed watt of power production. Only five years ago, systems would typically cost $7 per installed watt.
Solar installations have been taking off across the country in the past two years as prices come down. In the US residential solar installations grew 53% in Q1 2013 over the same quarter last year. The US now produces enough solar energy to power over 1.3 million average US homes. In Michigan, solar has been a growth industry, increasing over 15% each year between 2003 and 2010. Over 6,300 workers employed by 121 companies in Michigan for solar manufacturing alone.
The MI Solar Works program has broken through the local price barrier and is offering solar systems for homes and small businesses at this new low price point. It is also providing no money down financing with unsecured loans so that the system won’t cost a lot of money up front.
The MI Solar Works program is using an innovative community approach, getting community residents to help gather at least 10 systems to go through in any given city before installations proceed. This brings down permitting and inspection costs to make the systems less expensive. The program launched with a pilot in Detroit and Ann Arbor, but is now taking sign-ups from anywhere in the state.
MI Solar Works was created by SRInergy, a solar installer with a strong commitment to the social good, and WARM Training Center, a nonprofit that has provided ground-breaking energy programs in Michigan for over 30 years. Many other installers, nonprofits and local governments are joining the effort to help Michigan make a strong showing in this national race.
Find out more about MI Solar Works at http://www.warmtraining.org/wordpress/solar/.
Read a previous solar power article at http://ferndale115.com/nuevo/2013/07/09/a-place-in-the-grid-energy-experiments-go-big-video/.