Sun shines on $4.4M extension of Michigan Renewable Schools program

The winds of change have been fanning 64 schools across Michigan over the last two years. The K-12 schools have adopted energy efficiency and renewable energy programs with the support of Energy Works Michigan, the non-profit that administers the Michigan Renewable Schools program.

To date, solar and wind installations at participating schools have generated over 43,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) of clean solar and wind power, per Energy Works Michigan.

And with Energy Works' receipt of a new $4.4 million contract funded by the Michigan Public Service Commission, 90 more schools are expected to benefit over the next three years. For the first time, colleges and universities will be included in this second round of funding.

"The whole impetus for the installation of renewable energy at the K-12 schools is for educational purposes," says Kelly Weger, project coordinator at Energy Works Michigan. "There's no reason why that need doesn't still exist at some of these post-secondary institutions. And there are so many amazing programs we've learned about that are teaching students about renewable energy and energy efficiency -- and they don't have actual installations on their school premises."

In Washtenaw County, the installation of a 10 kW solar photovoltaic array on the roof of Rudolf Steiner High School in Ann Arbor is currently underway. It should generate approximately 10,000 kWh of clean energy every year.

The initial $3.5 million contract that kicked off the Michigan Renewable Schools program offered only solar photovoltaic and wind options. New to the mix in the second round, according to Weger, will be solar thermal systems to heat water as well as feasibility studies for geothermal systems.

Applications for the second round will be accepted beginning in September, Weger adds.

Source: Kelly Weger, project coordinator at Energy Works Michigan
Writer: Tanya Muzumdar
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