Solar in Time for Summer

Solar in Time for Summer


Michigan Energy Options helps a homeowner install solar

Virginia Killough is excited about the sunny days of summer returning to Marquette and with good reason. This season she will be powering up her home with the help of a new solar array.

"I've been interested in energy conservation for a long time, and when we constructed the house, we had it built with that in mind," said Killough.

The latest addition to the home, tucked away on Harbor View Drive in south Marquette, is a 2.3 kilowatt 10 panel solar array to be used to provide the home with renewable energy. It is expected that the panels will be able to provide Killough's home with 4,500 kWh of power each year. Any excess energy that isn't used in the home can be sold back to the grid for a profit.

The BetterBuildings for Michigan (BBFM) program in Marquette provided Killough the avenue to purchase solar panels through their affiliate Michigan Saves. Michigan Saves, a statewide loan program that encourages energy efficiency upgrades, provided a 0% APR loan to Killough. She also installed a new furnace and water heater and received a federal rebate for the solar panels.

The Superior Watershed Partnership and City of Marquette is administering the BetterBuildings for Michigan program. Michigan Energy Options did Killough's home energy assessment and brokered the solar installation with Ian Olmsted of Peninsula Solar.

"These are basically our tax dollars coming back to your home for your home energy improvements, so, it's really a pretty sweet deal," said Natasha Koss, Program Manager with the Superior Watershed Partnership, regional coordinator for BetterBuildings for Michigan in Marquette.

The process started with a home energy assessment performed by a certified contractor to check for areas in the home where energy loss could be minimized. This process helps homeowners pinpoint trouble areas in their homes, and addresses ways in which to increase overall energy efficiency and save money on utility bills.

"A home energy assessment is crucial for figuring out how you can save energy in your home," said Michael Larson, U.P. Office Manager of Michigan Energy Options. "It's the first step toward making changes that will allow you to stop wasting energy and discover how you can incorporate renewable energy into your home."

Killough had an interest in solar even before her home energy assessment. Program incentives encouraged her to finance the project.

"I had been previously interested in solar and was wondering when it would be accessible to me," said Killough. "I knew it was a possibility once I completed the assessment and knew what incentives were available."

The renewable energy produced by the Michigan-made panels can be monitored from any mobile device or computer.

Killough says the panels have changed her outlook on her personal energy use.

"Previously the kilowatt hours on my bills did not mean anything," she said. "Because I'm watching the solar output, I am now more aware of my energy consumption. It's a bigger part of my life. We have to do everything we can to help conserve energy."


About Michigan Energy Options

For more than 30 years, Michigan Energy Options (formerly Urban and Northern Options) has helped more than a million people in Michigan conserve energy, save money, adopt renewable energy, reduce greenhouse gases and lead more sustainable lives. Our nonprofit is a team with diverse expertise: PhD, MBA, MPA, LEED accredited, HERS and BPI trained, licensed contractors and architects, seasoned environmental and energy experts, project and financial managers--all practitioners for a greener Michigan.

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