The City of Ypsilanti is pleased to announce that it has been awarded a Gold designation for supporting solar energy development by SolSmart, a national organization dedicated to helping communities reduce barriers to solar energy growth. To achieve the Gold designation, a community must take steps to streamline solar panel installation permitting, track key metrics regarding solar installation, and commit to encouraging local solar installations. Ypsilanti is the only community in Michigan to achieve this award, and one of only 58 communities nationwide.
“Today is a step closer to a greener community,” said City Manager Darwin McClary. “We hope that this recognition will inspire surrounding communities to encourage solar energy development.” SolSmart is a new national designation program funded by the U.S. Department of Energy Sun Shot Initiative through the Solar Powering America by the Recognizing Communities (SPARC) initiative.
“This award was made possible by former councilperson Anne Brown bringing the opportunity to SolarYpsi, which worked with the City to complete the SolSmart application and supply the necessary documentation,” said Dave Strenski. Strenski is the leader of SolarYpsi, a local community group that facilitates the installation of solar through offering free technical expertise and fundraising support.
“I applaud Ypsilanti for being a national leader in renewable energy use,” said Valerie Brader, Executive Director of the Michigan Agency for Energy. “A diverse energy portfolio is important to Michigan and the state’s new energy laws call for an increased use of renewable power sources. Ypsilanti is making a strong commitment to being a leader in our new energy future.”
The City of Ypsilanti has long strived to be a leader in renewable energy and sustainability. In 2012, Ypsilanti was one of the first communities to adopt a Climate Action Plan. In 2013, the City adopted a goal of 1,000 solar roofs or 5 MW by 2020 and is a fifth of the way towards that goal today. In 2016, the City worked with SolarYpsi, DTE, and Highland Cemetery to install an 800KW solar field, and SolarYpsi worked with a private donor to install a 50KW rooftop installation on the Fire Department. This year, the City has established the Sustainability Commission to help move the City forward on its economic, social, and environmental health sustainability goals.