Solar Today Spring 2017 : Page 38

A ribbon cutting celebrates the installation at Washtenaw International High School (from left to right: Mr. John Basler (WiHi teacher), Ms. Emily Van Ark (WiHi teacher), Dave Strenski, Katy Malan (student), Ms. Nhu Do (WiHi Principal), Andrew Hess (student). bill. In addition to the financial savings, we serve a community that is very conscious of using sustainable resources. Anything the library can do to support that value is relevant. We are grateful for the generosity of the anonymous donor and for Dave in making this a reality.” Beyond dollars and sense, solar installations provide positive visibility for the organization, serving as an example of the organization's commit-ment to a better future. Ashley Fox, a teacher at Washtenaw International High School, put it this way, “Beyond saving our school $800 on its electric bill last school year, the solar panels have fueled inquiry in our school community. They have been the subject of scientific study in physics and envi-ronmental systems and societies both on an individual and class level. They have helped government classes consider the connection between sustainability, school budgets, and public policy. Furthermore, the investment in solar panels has been a powerful visual reminder for students that 38 SPRING 2017 SOLAR TODAY there are concrete ways for regular people to help create answers to major problems. Such an investment served as inspiration for coordinating overarching sustainabil-ity efforts for our school community, and making partnerships beyond our school.” Where We Go from Here ….. The anonymous donor project was tre-mendously successful. For SolarYpsi, it is now a model for future funding partner-ships. There are probably dozens of local community organizations that have facili-ties suitable for a solar project. SolarYpsi continues to seek funding opportunities to connect these groups with money-sav-ing solar technology. Another project we are working on is a city-wide solar rebate project. Find more info on our website: SolarYpsi.org/5MW_ project.pdf. While volunteer labor reduces the price of a solar installation, we can only manage a few projects a year. To really grow solar power we need hundreds of installs per year, and the best motivator is a lower price. With a typical 5 kW solar installation costing about $15,000 ($3/ watt), we’re hoping to get funding to give out a $1/watt rebate, or $5,000 on a typical install. This coupled with the 30% Federal Renewable Tax Credit means the home-owner pays a third, the tax credit pays a third, and the rebate pays a third. If we could increase the volume of solar installs within the four square miles of Ypsilanti, contractors would get tremendous eco-nomics of scale and shorter travel distanc-es between jobs and dramatically reduce the price of a solar install in our area. Then with this new price point, neighboring areas would also benefit, and like ripples in a pond solar power via PV would spread across the state. ST Copyright © 2014 American Solar Energy Society. All rights reserved.

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