MAREC uses state grant for study on solar energy installations in Muskegon

Date: May 21, 2013

Story originally published on on May 15, 2013.
solar panels
The solar test beds are outside of the Grand Valley State University,
Michigan Alternative and Renewable Energy Center in Muskegon.

Grand Valley State University’s alternative energy center will circle back to some 75 low-income residents in Muskegon and Oceana counties to see how solar energy has worked for them.

The Michigan Alternative and Renewable Energy Center in Muskegon has received a $44,000 grant from the Michigan Energy Office to study solar thermal systems in Michigan’s climate.

Part of the grant will support a review of the solar systems put on some 75 low-income houses in the two counties through a $3.2 million federal economic stimulus program grant received by the Muskegon-Oceana Community Action Program in 2011.

The Sustainable Energy Resources for Consumers grant put solar photovoltaic panels on some houses to generate electricity while others were equipped with solar hot air and hot water systems. Each house was winterized for energy efficiency before the solar system was installed.

Overall, MAREC Program Director Kim Walton wants to investigate how to optimize solar installations in the climate found in Michigan. For those who think it is not sunny enough in West Michigan for solar installations, she’d only point to the MAREC solar roof, which has been producing significant electricity for the past decade.

“West Michigan is an area where very little solar research has been conducted,” Walton said. “Understanding how different factors work together can help installers of solar systems design the most efficient systems and lower overall cost.”

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