New solar project up and running in Mid-Michigan

MIDLAND COUNTY (WJRT) - (05/31/16) - Tuesday's sunshine will come in handy when a green project is finalized in Mid-Michigan.

"So what they're doing is installing 30 panels, these are 275 watt black on black made from Suniva," said Solarize Michigan Program Manager Stephen Wooden.

Suniva makes solar panels in Saginaw Township, less than 45 minutes away from Chris and Sue Streeter's Sanford Lake home in Midland County.

The rooftop solar panels going up on the Streeter's home are the first under the Solarize Michigan program, created by the Institute for Energy Innovation, a think tank that promotes the economic advantages of renewables and energy efficiency.

Chris says adding solar was the logical next step.

"We've been reinsulating, we went all LED lighting, fluorescent lighting, we've done everything we can to get our energy costs down, and no matter what we do, you know it doesn't seem like it's made much difference,” he said.

But going green isn't cheap, at least up front.

"For the array we're putting on here, it's about $23,000, but there's a 30 percent tax credit," Streeter said.

Streeter adds that price does come with some sticker shock, but so does his monthly electric bill.

Solar will eventually save them money.

"This is supposed to pay for itself in 10 to 11 years," Streeter said.

The Streeters got some help paying for this project through Solarize Michigan, which launched earlier this year.

The program saved them 10 percent and could help Mid-Michigan businesses, too.

"Neighbors start asking folks about their solar panels, and then they start looking in it themselves, they contact installers, and they go forward," Wooden said.

Homeowners in Bay, Midland or Saginaw counties are eligible for the program. If you are interested, you have until Oct. 31 to sign up for the Solarize Michigan project. You can learn more about the program by clicking on our ‘Related Link’.

Locally, the C.S. Mott Foundation provided some funding for the project. Bay Future, Midland Tomorrow and Saginaw Future are also supporting the project.

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