Comments on: On Ann Arbor’s Energy Agenda: Carbon, Solar it's like being there Tue, 16 Sep 2014 04:56:38 +0000 hourly 1 By: Vivienne Armentrout Vivienne Armentrout Mon, 26 Aug 2013 19:46:58 +0000 As I understand (and I’m not at all expert), there are currently regulatory barriers to community solar projects. There are also technical challenges in obtaining solar power from one’s own system directly and storing it (rather than sending it back to DTE and receiving a reduced rate). Battery technology is still catching up.

There is already an effort to put together a community solar project for my neighborhood in Northwest Ann Arbor. Many of us received emails inviting us to an informational meeting at the 2nd Baptist Church tomorrow (August 27) at 7 p.m. I don’t know how large the fellowship room is.

By: Steve Bean Steve Bean Mon, 26 Aug 2013 19:29:47 +0000 “…it would be a challenge to identify the specific companies related to the retirement system’s investments… because the retirement system’s trust fund has investments in indexes, funds, and funds of funds.”

That’s not a difficulty at all. Sell them all. They all contribute to and promote fossil fuel consumption (to varying degrees), and they’ll all be losing value during the deflationary credit collapse that’s underway.

We’d be far better off investing those funds in the community solar effort, possibly via the city’s PACE program (if the state would enable its use for residential installations).

Rounding down the cost per installed Watt slightly to $3, $300 million from the retirement fund (about 75% of the total) would cover 100 MW* of installed capacity, create numerous jobs, keep more money in the local economy, make our community much more resilient to power outages in the future, make local housing more affordable (keeping more people in their homes and paying property taxes), and reduce GHG emissions, all with a guaranteed positive return to the retirement fund. The county could follow suit. As payments came back to the city, the retirement board could decide whether to reinvest in the effort or shift into some other investment. Simultaneous investment in local energy efficiency would make the solar investment go even further.

What will keep us from making such an eminently wise choice? (Notice that I say “will” rather than “would”. Now why would I do that?)

*100 MW is enough capacity to power 100,000 average American homes (or at least twice as many efficient homes, or something like ten times as many very efficient homes). Since Ann Arbor has less than half that many households, the remainder could be available for powering businesses.