Environment Picture

Solar panels boost output at Michigan Energy Options demonstration center in E. Lansing

System will be able to sell electricity back to the grid
A suite of solar panels installed this winter at Michigan Energy Options’ (MEO) East Lansing office and energy demonstration center is the latest example of the organization’s commitment to “walking the talk” in regards to renewable power and energy efficiency.

MEO—an MEC member group—has been a leading advocate of renewable energy and energy efficiency in Michigan for more than 30 years. Five new solar panels are the latest upgrades to the environmentally friendly office just north of the Michigan State University campus.

The panels add 1.2kW to the existing 2kW solar roof built in 1998. Combined, the two systems will provide the center with enough renewable energy to cover 30 to 40 percent of its electrical needs.

The new panels utilize state-of-the-art solar electric technology with plug-and-play microinverters and standard off-the-shelf racking to secure them to the south-facing “eyebrow” roof. And they’re cool looking too. Thanks to a net metering agreement with the Lansing Board of Water & Light, MEO will be getting credit for excess electrical power it might produce on certain days of the year.

One of the highlights of this upgrade can be found on MEO’s receipt for the new panels. Per watt, this addition costs less than one-half of the 1998 solar roof. For the past 20 years, solar demand has grown by 30 percent annually, leading to competition that has driven technological advancements in solar energy and pushed down prices for homeowners and small businesses.

MEO staff is thrilled about this upgrade, which adds to their portfolio of sustainable practices. The East Lansing and Marquette MEO offices are two of nine State Energy Demonstration Centers in Michigan. In addition to MEO’s many programs and services statewide, the demonstration centers allow this nonprofit to showcase exhibits designed to educate Michigan residents on energy efficiency, renewable energy and sustainable building techniques.

 —By Marco Salomone, MEC
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