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Posted on Tue, Mar 26, 2013 : 1:10 p.m.

Nonprofit hosts community forum promoting solar energy goal for Ypsilanti

By Cindy Heflin

A nonprofit environmental advocacy organization will host a community forum Tuesday night in Ypsilanti to promote solar power.


Solar panels line the roof of the Corner Brewery in Ypsilanti, 720 Norris St. The panels provide hot water in addition to electricity for the building.

Jeffrey Smith | file photo

Catherine Baxter, field coordinator for Environment Michigan, said the organization hopes the Ypsilanti City Council will set a goal to have 1,000 solar roofs in the city by 2020.

“We’re having this meeting to show support for the strong goal,” she said.

Ypsilanti Mayor Paul Schreiber said he wants to gauge support for such a goal at the forum Tuesday night .

“It’s pretty clear that Ypsilanti is definitely interested in solar,” he said, citing the fact there are solar panels on city hall and noting that a recent study showed Ypsilanti had more solar energy being created per capita than Ann Arbor. “I would like to move in that direction. I just don’t know how quickly we can.”

Participants at the event will include Baxter and the mayor as well as:

  • Dave Strenski, founder of SolarYpsi
  • Shane LaHousse, vice president of operations for Renovo Solar
  • Gary Turner, owner of GaryBuilds
  • Prasad Gullapalli, president of SRIEnergy

The forum comes as the city awaits word on whether a former Ypsilanti landfill will be developed into a $4 million solar array site that would produce alternative energy for DTE Energy.

The forum will be from 7 to 8 p.m. at the Corner Brewery, 720 Norris St., in Ypsilanti. That business also is home to a major solar panel installation and other green initiatives.


Roger Kuhlman

Wed, Mar 27, 2013 : 4:07 a.m.

Why doesn't Ypsi have an objective, indepedent expert at their forum to discuss whether solar panels are a good idea or not. Do you think you will get the truth from advocates of solar energy?


Wed, Mar 27, 2013 : 12:35 p.m.

3 of the speakers will happily hand out business cards and give you a quote. One is a pure enthusiast and the other is the Mayor. I suspect that the forum will draw those people who are pro-solar in the area. I doubt there will be any balance in the discussion, much like most "news" sources today.


Wed, Mar 27, 2013 : 3:46 a.m.

Every one of these "speakers" is lining their pockets with taxpayer crony capitalist eco cash handed over by democrat stooges. Since we all know solar power is for fools with more money then brains, what is the objective here? Does the University think they are changing the planet's weather by generating a miniscule amount of power with photo voltaics? If they do, they should release a statement explaining that hilarious claim and how much colder they expect the planet to get per panel! LOL There is absolutely no reason to waste money on boutique power sources. Given the 2016 20 trillion dollar Euro Debt economy their dear leader obama is creating, every student better wake up soon and figure out that the only power they should support is the absolute cheapest they can get. You kids will need every spare penny they can get to pay back the Chinese for the rest of your lives. Get to love 50 hour + work weeks, old used cars and trailer parks because that's your obama future.


Tue, Mar 26, 2013 : 8:52 p.m.

Seeing as how the University of Michigan is so focused on green initiatives, and it has such a prominent program in the environment and natural resources, I wonder if/when more solar panels or other forms of alternative energy use will be implemented in the local Ann Arbor area. For example, I wonder what it would take to convince the university to install more solar panels on top of buildings like Mason Hall.

Roger Kuhlman

Wed, Mar 27, 2013 : 4:04 a.m.

How about you going out and spending your money to put solar panels on your roof if you think the idea is so great.


Tue, Mar 26, 2013 : 6:02 p.m.

Sadly solar panels do not work as well as most think ( 30% efficiency of what is stated is often the case). Problems like non optimum placement and orientation to the sun to get efficiency and they get dusty quickly taking the efficiency down and even more. Not cost efficient by any measure. If you bother to actually measure and aren't just wanting to feel warm and fuzzy for doing something that sounds good. Would recommend a book written by an enviormentalist "Green Illustions". Goes over why the promises we are being sold are not real and what we should be spending on and trying to get done to actually make a difference.


Wed, Mar 27, 2013 : 12:31 p.m.

Ross - Without tax subsidies or higher feed in tariffs, the payback in Michigan for Solar, if added to a 3 percent mortgage is around 33 years. If you can get a higher rate feed in tariff or qualify for tax subsidies, then you are right, you can get a 20 year payback, provided that you don't count your own labor for cleaning and maintaining the system and that nothing in the system breaks in that 20 year time period.

Roger Kuhlman

Wed, Mar 27, 2013 : 4:02 a.m.

Greg is correct. Solar panels do not work anywhere near as well what the avid proponents of the solar industry claim and the panels are very expensive to purchase and maintain.. Why should any city be throwing huge amounts of taxpayer money to people in this business. The solar industry is dominated by crony capitalists who make their money off public money through their well-heeled political connections not through producing an effective, efficient product that the public is willing to voluntarily buy and support.


Wed, Mar 27, 2013 : 2:52 a.m.

What a ridiculous statement. Payback time for residential solar installations is coming down under 20 years now, pretty reliably. I would call that pretty dang cost efficient.

Dog Guy

Tue, Mar 26, 2013 : 5:40 p.m.

"Ypsilanti Mayor Paul Schreiber said he wants to gauge support for such a goal at the forum Tuesday night ." Simultaneously I will be gauging support for beer at Sidetrack Bar & Grill. We will both find overwhelming support.