Thursday, May 25, 2017

UPSTART to bring community solar to L’Anse and to participate in National Solar Competition

L'Anse Village Manager Robert LaFave is pictured here in front of solar panels installed at the Village’s Water Treatment Facility. (Photo courtesy Brad Barnett, Western Upper Peninsula Planning and Development Region regional planner)

L'ANSE -- The Upper Peninsula Solar Technical Assistance Team (UPSTART) has been selected to participate in the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative’s Solar in Your Community Challenge. 

Over the next 18 months, UPSTART will design a community solar program to enable residents and businesses in L’Anse, Mich., to go solar. UPSTART received a $10,000 technical assistance award from the U.S. Department of Energy to support its efforts. UPSTART’s program will explore innovative funding models, and the lessons learned from this pilot project will inform other Upper Peninsula communities looking to go solar. UPSTART is one of eight Michigan-based teams competing in the competition and the only Upper Peninsula-based team to receive an award.

UPSTART will join hundreds of other teams from around the country in their pursuit of solar projects and programs that expand solar access to low- and moderate-income households and nonprofit organizations. All teams will compete for $1 million in final prizes, which will be awarded by judges based on each project or program’s innovation, impact, and replicability. 

UPSTART will work with L’Anse residents and businesses to develop a 50kW community solar program. The team will identify opportunities to increase low- to moderate-income (LMI) families’ access to solar power through creative funding and outreach models and will build on a technical feasibility study completed this spring by Michigan Technological University’s Keweenaw Research Center.

UPSTART is an innovative partnership dedicated to facilitating rapid community solar growth in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. UPSTART’s team members include Michigan Tech's Keweenaw Research Center and Environmental and Energy Policy Program, WPPI Energy, the Village of L’Anse, and the Western Upper Peninsula Planning and Development Region (WUPPDR).

Visit UPSTART’s Facebook Page for the latest news, updates, and ways for you to get involved.

The Solar in Your Community Challenge, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative and administered by SUNY Polytechnic Institute, is a $5 million prize competition that aims to expand solar access to low and moderate income households; and state, local, and tribal governments; and non-profit organizations.

More information about the selected teams and the Solar in Your Community Challenge is at www.solarinyourcommunity.org.      

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