Ann Arbor named a Solar America City by U.S. Dept of Energy

Ann Arbor has been named as one of the lucky 13 cities from across the country to serve as a Solar America City by the U.S. Dept of Energy

Ann Arbor, which routinely promotes alternative energy sources such as solar, was selected to serve as a model for integrating solar energy in the community. The city will receive $200,000 in federal funds to implement a $432,000 community-wide program to promote solar energy.  

“This award is another indication that Ann Arbor is serious about achieving our renewable energy goals and continuing our leadership in sustainable energy for our community,” Ann Arbor Mayor John Hieftje says in a statement. 

Last year Hieftje and the City Council set a goal of the city receiving 20 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2015. Since then, the city's Energy Office has developed a comprehensive plan, the Ann Arbor Solar City Partnership, which includes public education, solar installer training, demonstration projects, market incentives and regulatory support.  

The city is working with a wide range of institutions to implement the plan, such as the governor’s office, four major state divisions, two major renewable energy research institutions, the state’s largest solar manufacturer, the University of Michigan, the Clean Energy Coalition and Great Lakes Renewable Energy Association.  

They will help the partnership provide solar energy installation workshops, a community marketing campaign, a contest for solar energy systems, technical assistance for installing solar systems, along with incentives and rebates for both residential and commercial consumers.  

The Department of Energy provided $2.5 million in financial assistance to the 13 cities across the U.S., such as San Francisco and Madison, Wisc., as part of its Solar America Initiative. The initiative hopes to make solar energy cost-competitive with conventional sources of electricity by 2015 by streamlining local regulations and promoting solar technology to both residential and commercial consumers. 

“We believe these projects will stimulate activity in the marketplace and create a ripple effect that will boost the use of solar energy across the country,” U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Samuel W. Bodman says in a statement. “Harnessing more of the sun’s power is central to reaching the President’s goal of increasing our nation’s energy security by pushing forward clean, renewable technologies that will allow us to become less reliant on imported sources of energy.”  

Source: City of Ann Arbor
Writer: Jon Zemke