Building A Solar Destination

How Ypsilanti can harness the sun to power its future
Released by: Environment Michigan

Ypsilanti has an opportunity to embrace a vision for a cleaner, healthier future by laying the foundations for a homegrown solar energy economy.

•  Michigan gets nearly 60 percent of its electricity from coal—all of it imported from out of state. Not only does coal cost billions to import and removes money frodm the local economy, it also contaminates our air and water and spews tons of global warming-causing carbon pollution into the atmosphere.
•  Solar energy is a powerful solution to these environmental and economic challenges, and Michigan has great solar potential. The Great Lakes state gets more sunlight than Germany — the world’s leader in solar power.
•  The solar industry is rapidly maturing. Technological improvements alongside innovative business and financing models have driven costs to all time lows, but multiple barriers remain to full-scale implementation.
•  Solar investment keeps energy jobs in the city – allowing residents to invest in their own infrastructure and stop exporting their energy dollars outside of the city.

Ypsilanti can become a “Solar Destination.” By collaborating with local businesses, institutions, and community groups, city leaders can foster a solar future that begins to replace the outdated energy sources of the past, while reducing pollution and building a thriving economy.

•  Building off of the foundation SolarYpsi has created, solar power can become a central piece of Ypsilanti’s identity, as well as its economy.
•  Ypsilanti can keep skilled workers in the local economy by growing investments in solar. Eastern Michigan University prepares students for clean energy jobs and can help shape Ypsilanti into a “Solar Destination” – a place where students come to learn about solar energy and stay to work.
•  Putting solar on more roofs in Ypsilanti brings direct investment to the community and City by increasing home values and generating permit revenues.

To move toward a solar future, Ypsilanti should adopt a bold and achievable goal of installing 1,000 solar roofs by 2020.

•  The city of Ypsilanti should lead by example in solar energy by increasing municipal projects and linking new and existing projects to education and outreach efforts.
•  Ypsilanti has great solar potential, but that potential will not be realized unless financial barriers to solar installations for commercial and residential customers are overcome. Public-private partnerships and community projects can pave the way for easy access to solar financing.
•  City officials, solar businesses, educational institutions, and community organizations should collaborate to promote public understanding and solar literacy through aggressive citizen outreach and education initiatives.
•  Recognizing that more can be done with better solar incentives and policies in place, Ypsilanti should commit to supporting local, state and federal policies that promote the use of solar energy.