GVSU, MOCAP partnership brings solar power to income-eligible households

Solar panels at the Muskegon Rescue Mission Men's Shelter.
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Solar panels at the Muskegon Rescue Mission Men's Shelter.
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Grand Valley State University is part of an initiative to bring renewable energy technology to income-qualified households and programs that serve income-eligible individuals in Muskegon and Oceana counties.

Muskegon Oceana Community Action Partnership, Inc. (MOCAP) was awarded a $3.2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy through a Sustainable Energy Resources for Consumers (SERC) grant. It allows several Michigan contractors to install one or more systems at residential and income-eligible group care facilities. Installations may include hybrid domestic hot water, solar domestic hot water, solar hot air and solar photovoltaic systems in single and multi-family units. Grand Valley’s Michigan Alternative and Renewable Energy Center provides technical assistance and serves as a resource for the project.

The initiative was celebrated at an event hosted by MAREC on November 28. Fred Keller, CEO of Cascade Engineering, and Christina Scarpino, director of development for Every Woman’s Place, were among the speakers.

There are four, large multi-family projects underway that will benefit 150 people, and about one third of approximately 50 residential projects have begun, said Kim Walton, program coordinator at MAREC and technical advisor for the project. “All the money saved by these installations will go directly back into the community,” she said.

“This project places renewable energy systems with people in Michigan who haven’t had access to this technology in the past, and those people are often the ones who can benefit from it the most,” said Arn Boezaart, director of MAREC. “We are proud to be part of this initiative.”

Walton said the single and multi-family units selected were income-qualified, were deemed energy efficient or underwent weatherization for energy efficiency before the renewable energy technologies were installed. The project will be completed by March 31.