Comments (2) 10:10 AM posted by admin |
Historic East Side resident, Dave Strenski has become somewhat of a local folk hero with regard to solar power. He led the charge to find a grant and install solar panels on the roof of the Ypsilanti Food Co-Op. He’s done numerous presentation at the Ypsilanti District Library as well as the Corner Brewery.
At last night’s special Council meeting regarding a plan by Honeywell to potentially save the City millions of dollars in energy costs over the next 15 years, Mr. Strenski’s name came up a lot as well as the Co-Op’s solar project. If Ypsilanti is willing to invest more than $3.1M in Honeywell’s plan, why aren’t we looking to alternative energies as part of the overall solution? Obviously the payback period for some of these ideas is longer than the conventional “clean coal” schemes General Electric sells us, but when is the time for the City of Ypsilanti to move off the grid, even if it’s just a tad?
Let’s say that time is now.
Life in Ypsilanti has become somewhat dependent on “friends” groups to provide services that the City used to deliver back in the days of milk and honey. We have the Friends of the Freighthouse, the Friends of the Rutherford Pool, Friends of the Senior Citizen’s Center, and businessman John Barfield has become the best friend the Parkridge Community Center could ever have. Would another friends group be one too many? What about Friends of Solar Energy (FOSE) or the Ypsilanti People’s Solar Initiative (YPSI)?
Would you become a friend?
The Food Co-Op completed their project for a little more than $7600. If there was a project to put solar panels on the roof of City Hall so that everyone coming into downtown on South Huron would see them, would you become a friend? A friend that donated money of course. Each panel costs about a grand. Would you find nine other friends so that you all could donate a panel to the cause?
Imagine the public relations impact this could have on Ypsilanti. On the front page of the the City’s web site, there could be a couple energy meters that show visitors how much energy the City is generating that day. As Mr. Strenski says, we should be advertising Ypsilanti.
Ã‚Â Mr. Strenski’s proposal can be found HERE. (ed. note: File revised 16MAR07 08:09AM)
UPDATE: A loyal reader mentioned Citizenre, a Massachusetts-based company whose business model is to manufacture solar panels and then lease them to customers at the going current rate for electricity. This effectively locks in the price of energy for the next 40 years. In addition, NPR just profiled Citizenre this morning on Morning Edition. That story can be located HERE.
They hope to have over 100K customers signed up by the end of the year. The only drawback is Citizenre has yet to build their proposed $650M factory that will produce these zero-investment solar panels.
UPDATE (2): Citizenre has published a strategy to combat negative PR for their solar leasing as well as their forecast for customer installation. It can be found HERE.
If it sounds too good to be true…