Ann Arbor pushes for community to adopt more solar energy

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Ann Arbor is encouraging residents to go solar to help meet the city’s community-wide goals of significantly reducing carbon emissions.

The City Council unanimously adopted a new policy last month requiring all renovations of city facilities that are included in the city’s Capital Improvements Plan to comply with current Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design criteria for existing buildings and to incorporate solar power and other renewable energy sources to the greatest extent possible.

In January, the city partnered with nonprofit Clean Energy Coalition in Ann Arbor for the launch of a solar group-purchase program, A2 Solar Club, to encourage more residents to go solar. At least six solar panel installations have been completed and at least 12 more are in the works since its launch.

“It’s spectacular,” said David Levine, CEO of Geostellar, a partner that uses an online platform to guide residents through solar panel installation. “We’ve done similar projects for the city of Cleveland, for Baltimore, for probably six or seven cities, and Ann Arbor is really the best in terms of velocity, in terms of spreading the message.”

Nate Geisler, the city’s energy programs analyst, said more than 140 people have inquired about the A2 Solar Club program since launching.

Councilman Chip Smith said he’s met with University of Michigan representatives to talk about the potential for community solar on university parking lots. He said he’s been in talks with local solar installer Homeland Solar about doing a community solar project there and allowing neighbors to buy into it.

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