Overall Rating Silver - expired
Overall Score 48.56
Liaison Alan Turnquist
Submission Date July 8, 2020
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Michigan Technological University
IN-27: Innovation D

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.00 / 1.00 Jay Meldrum
Executive Director of Sustainability
Facilities Management
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Name or title of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome:
L'Anes Community Solar Project

A brief description of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome that outlines how credit criteria are met and any positive measurable outcomes associated with the innovation:

A team of engineering researchers and students from the Alternative Energy Enterprise (AEE) and Social Science (SS) Department of Michigan Tech, including a Ph.D. Candidate combined their talents to bring Solar to the Community of L'Anse, Michigan. The team worked with the Village of L'Anse City Manager, the Western Upper Peninsula Power Company (WPPI), the Western Upper Peninsula Planning and Development Region (WUPPDR), and several State of Michigan agencies including the Energy, Great Lakes, and the Environment (EGLE) to come up with a plan that would meet the needs of the small community with many “Low to Middle Income” (LMI) residents. This was one of the underlying goals of the project. Many LMI residents want to participate in solar but find the cost of an installation beyond their means. By sharing the burden allowing the power company to manage the installation, each subscriber can feel good and save a little money at the same time. The AEE team created a concept design of the system including site selection, quantity of solar panel, hook up to the grid, and the estimated cost. The SS department held many meetings with the community to assess their sensitivity to price and their willingness to participate. We found a great number of the community members were in favor of the project. Several small grants were approved by State agencies to assist in the project. WPPI was also very supportive I helping the community members achieve what they wanted. They offered an interest-free loan to fund the installation which would be paid back from subscriptions from the community. In the end, the three year project was a success with 340 panels installed and 100% subscription rate in about 6 months. The per panel subscription rate was low since the original estimate was higher than the actual cost. Each subscriber receives a nominal reduction in their monthly bill until the investment is fully paid up. The project was considered one of two great examples of success in the State of Michigan. The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy’s Michigan Solar Communities ¬– Low to Moderate Income Access Program has been named one of this year’s State Leadership in Clean Energy award winners by the Clean Energy States Alliance due to the L’Anse installation and another downstate near Traverse City. Plans are underway for a similar project in Baraga, Michigan in part because of the success and innovative way in which it was organized and financed.

Which of the following impact areas does the innovation most closely relate to? (select up to three):
Public Engagement
Coordination & Planning

A letter of affirmation from an individual with relevant expertise or a press release or publication featuring the innovation :
The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
Data source(s) and notes about the submission:

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