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Solar Energy detroit

Published on January 17th, 2010 | by Susan Kraemer

18

Michigan Gov to Repower Detroit With Solar Roofs for as Low as $6,000

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January 17th, 2010 by
 

The people who live in Detroit could really use some good news after taking the hardest landing as the Age of Oil clunkered to a close. A massive homesteading retrofit program to bring free energy from sunshine would be just perfect.

In 2007, Michigan’s Governor Granholm had instigated one of the most progressive climate targets of any state in the US, to achieve an EU Kyoto Accord level of greenhouse gas reduction of 20% below 1990 by 2020.

To get there, she set out a combination of renewable energy incentives that make solar roofs in the nearly abandoned city a slam dunk, and which could bring out-of-pocket costs down to as little as $6,000.

In 2007, she signed the ambitious target. And to get there, she invited some serious thinkers to analyze the cost-effectiveness of various policy options. After a more than a year of intensive stakeholder collaboration and cost-benefit analysis, they recommended 54 climate mitigation policy actions to lower greenhouse gases and achieve a $25 billion net gain in the gross state product.

One of the policy options recommended was “Incentives to Promote Renewable Energy Systems Implementation”.

She took their advice and budgeted $25 million for solar rebates. Now the local utility, DTE Energy, as part of the its compliance plan under the state Renewable Portfolio Standard – which requires that it buy more renewable energy each year – will pay residents to install solar power that feeds the grid. They can stop the offer only once their customers have collectively installed 5 MW of solar power. Any customers of DTE Energy are eligible.

Because the rebate pays $2,400 for every KW installed, a 5 KW system would be $12,000 off.

Like all Americans, Detroit homeowners would get the new 30% tax credit, which would reduce cost another $6,900, leaving an out-of-pocket cost of just $6,000, according to calculations by Solar Fred at Solar Power Rocks.

In addition, the utility will continue to pay a Feed-in Tariff of 11 cents per kilowatt-hour. This would bring in income year after year, which Solar Fred estimates, assuming average Detroit rain, snow and a good roof orientation, could amount to a tidy $610 or so a year.

To those people who live in the Rogue States that have not passed climate and renewable energy legislation, it must seem inconceivable that an electric utility would actually pay you to put solar on your roof to compete with their rates. But once built, renewable energy will be much cheaper than fossil energy, because the fuel is free and non-polluting. And climate legislation makes that initial switch happen.

And what more fitting way to re-energize the city that suffered the most from fossil fuels – than with a 25 to 40 year supply of fossil-free energy.

Image: Feral Houses by James D Griffioen

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About the Author

writes at CleanTechnica, CSP-Today, PV-Insider , SmartGridUpdate, and GreenProphet. She has also been published at Ecoseed, NRDC OnEarth, MatterNetwork, Celsius, EnergyNow, and Scientific American. As a former serial entrepreneur in product design, Susan brings an innovator's perspective on inventing a carbon-constrained civilization: If necessity is the mother of invention, solving climate change is the mother of all necessities! As a lover of history and sci-fi, she enjoys chronicling the strange future we are creating in these interesting times.    Follow Susan on Twitter @dotcommodity.



  • Mark

    While distributed generation costs have come and are attractive for distribution/blackout reasons – what are the final costs in $/watt with incentives? Also, let’s focus concurrently on generation of electricity and the conservation products already available. If you go to http://www.Tintbuyer.com and get totally independent quotes for solar control window film, you will find that people can reduce consumption without any visual effect on their windows for much less than creating more generating capacity through PV, geotherm, or wind. After all, if you reduce 500kWh or create 50W generating capacity – what is the net effect on the grid?

    [SK: Many states do require an efficiency audit first before installing solar, so buyers find out how much they could reduce demand first with any measures like you suggest before adding a new supply of solar electricity from the roof]

  • Mark

    While distributed generation costs have come and are attractive for distribution/blackout reasons – what are the final costs in $/watt with incentives? Also, let’s focus concurrently on generation of electricity and the conservation products already available. If you go to http://www.Tintbuyer.com and get totally independent quotes for solar control window film, you will find that people can reduce consumption without any visual effect on their windows for much less than creating more generating capacity through PV, geotherm, or wind. After all, if you reduce 500kWh or create 50W generating capacity – what is the net effect on the grid?

    [SK: Many states do require an efficiency audit first before installing solar, so buyers find out how much they could reduce demand first with any measures like you suggest before adding a new supply of solar electricity from the roof]

  • JJ

    What about those of us who can’t afford the initial outlay of cash to install solar, but are still being strangled by DTE’s high rates? The old Catch 22…

  • JJ

    What about those of us who can’t afford the initial outlay of cash to install solar, but are still being strangled by DTE’s high rates? The old Catch 22…

  • Susan Kraemer

    Michigan will benefit from the climate legislation that is just kicking in now. It is bold and brave to try to switch the hardest hit state to renewable energy, and this Governor is doing the right thing.

    The program costs some now but will yield $25 billion over the years, per the study I linked. People who no longer pay for utility electricity will have more money in their pockets, which will contribute to a recovery over the 25 years.

    I know from when I did solar estimates that even in the first 25 years, savings from solar easily amount to $80,000 and up per homeowner, compared to what they would have paid to their power company in those 25 years.

    So making it affordable initially, literally is like creating future wealth to be spent in that economy over the next 25 years.

  • Michael Scott

    Ah yes, the “Rogue States” are the ones that aren’t taxing and spending their way to bankruptcy. Let’s all follow the model of Detroit — they’ve really benefited from all the climate change legislation.

  • Michael Scott

    Ah yes, the “Rogue States” are the ones that aren’t taxing and spending their way to bankruptcy. Let’s all follow the model of Detroit — they’ve really benefited from all the climate change legislation.

  • James

    Michigan needs a mandatory feed-in-tariff!

  • James

    Michigan needs a mandatory feed-in-tariff!

  • Susan Kraemer

    Michigan will benefit from the climate legislation that is just kicking in now. It is bold and brave to try to switch the hardest hit state to renewable energy, and this Governor is doing the right thing.

    The program costs some now but will yield $25 billion over the years, per the study I linked. People who no longer pay for utility electricity will have more money in their pockets, which will contribute to a recovery over the 25 years.

    I know from when I did solar estimates that even in the first 25 years, savings from solar easily amount to $80,000 and up per homeowner, compared to what they would have paid to their power company in those 25 years.

    So making it affordable initially, literally is like creating future wealth to be spent in that economy over the next 25 years.

  • Susan Kraemer

    Unemployment is even higher – close to 35%! It has crashed.

  • Susan Kraemer

    Unemployment is even higher – close to 35%! It has crashed.

  • http://www.StayHomeLiveSafe.com Solar Pundant

    We are still not seeing what God,…yes God has given us.

    He has given us brains, human ego, human desire and human fortitude. At some point,..our scientists will be heralded as the demi-gods that they deserve to be heralded as. Sports stars and WallStreet bankers will take a “second seat” to those that observe and help us navigate to the secure carbon reduced society that we must migrate to.

    God bless brains over brawn; no competition overall.

    FB

  • http://www.StayHomeLiveSafe.com Solar Pundant

    We are still not seeing what God,…yes God has given us.

    He has given us brains, human ego, human desire and human fortitude. At some point,..our scientists will be heralded as the demi-gods that they deserve to be heralded as. Sports stars and WallStreet bankers will take a “second seat” to those that observe and help us navigate to the secure carbon reduced society that we must migrate to.

    God bless brains over brawn; no competition overall.

    FB

  • http://www.freesolarwebinar.org Free Solar Webinar

    Detroit definitely needs this. With one of the highest unemployment rates in the country (over 12%), people definitely need jobs. Adding this initiative will increase so many jobs in the states – job training, solar companies, installation companies, and hopefully innovation!

  • http://www.freesolarwebinar.org Free Solar Webinar

    Detroit definitely needs this. With one of the highest unemployment rates in the country (over 12%), people definitely need jobs. Adding this initiative will increase so many jobs in the states – job training, solar companies, installation companies, and hopefully innovation!

  • http://www.openlybalanced.com Jess @OpenlyBalanced

    Not trying in any way to minimize the hardship of the citizens of Detroit, but I think that there is a great opportunity here to revitalize and redevelop these communities in more sustainable ways. I think this program is a great step, and hopefully only one of many!

  • http://www.openlybalanced.com Jess @OpenlyBalanced

    Not trying in any way to minimize the hardship of the citizens of Detroit, but I think that there is a great opportunity here to revitalize and redevelop these communities in more sustainable ways. I think this program is a great step, and hopefully only one of many!

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