We interviewed Dave Strenski about the Smart 50 Award winner, Ypsilanti Fire Station Solar Installation in Ypsilanti, Michigan. Here’s a bit more about his project:
By using a combination of volunteer labor, an anonymous donation, and having a solar friendly city and a company that can monetize tax credits for non-profit, the City of Ypsilanti was able to put
50kW (176 solar panels) on their Fire Station and make it solar-powered. The project started with SolarYpsi designing a solar installation for the Ypsilanti Fire Station and getting quotes for
the materials. By soliciting donations, coordinating a dozen volunteers to do the installation, and connecting with Chart HouseEnergy to monetize the 30% Federal Renewable Energy Tax credit,
the return on investment for this project is less than 5 years. This project also pushed Ypsilanti over the 50 watts per capita mark, making us a Shining City according to Environment America.
Q: What does the term ‘smart city’ mean to you, and how does your project contribute to a larger smart city vision?
A: The City of Ypsilanti is a ‘smart city’ by striving to become a “Solar Destination” with over a 1000 solar roofs. Projects like this bring us closer to our goal and the mechanics of this project
can be repeated for other non-profits.
Q: Why is the implementation of your project transformational in our current society?
A: More then the renewable energy source, this project is a great way to build a community and give people first hand experience in installing solar power. Also, the money saved on electricity can be funneled back into the City for other community projects.
Q: What advice did you receive along the way that helped you complete your winning project?
A: Learning how to monetize tax credits was a huge win for this project and can be replicated for other solar projects.
Q: What advice would you give a city community or a solution provider looking to implement a municipal-level project?
A: Talk to as many people as possible and gather ideas. You don’t know what you don’t know.
Q: What does it mean to you to win the Smart 50 Awards?
A: This Smart 50 Awards combined with our recent SolSmart Gold award from the Solar Foundation really highlights the City of Ypsilanti as a leader in solar power in the state of Michigan.