Solar in Ann Arbor

​​​​​​​All about solar power, Ann Arbor Solarize, City-owned solar, and more!​​

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Contact: Joe Lange, Energy Analyst, [email protected]. ​​​

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Ann Arbor Solarize​ | Solar Power | Solar Permitting
​​Solar Maps & Potential | Finding a Contractor
Solar Help DeskFinancing | City Solar | Resources | Data


Ann Arbor Solarize

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Have you seen this yard sign? Do you want to learn more about solar installations? Do you want to have solar installed on your property? 

Then check out Ann Arbor Solarize! ​​

What is Ann Arbor Solarize?

Ann Arbor Solarize is a community bulk-buy solar program. We help residents gather neighbors and friends together, along with participating solar installers, to learn about residential solar, get questions answered, and provide the option to come together to bulk purchase solar - allowing for significant savings. 

As part of the City of Ann Arbor’s A2ZERO carbon neutrality plan, the Ann Arbor Office of Sustainability and Innovations works with local and regional solar installers - as well as Michigan Save​s, a non-profit green bank that facilitates low-interest financing for green upgrades such as solar installations - to offer this exciting program.

To learn more, check out our Solarize FAQ.

Why Partici​​pate in Solarize?

​​The benefits are robust fo​r individuals, the community, and the planet. The costs of solar have come down significantly over the last decade, panel efficiency is better than ever, and with the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022​, federal tax credits for solar were increased to 30% for the next 10 years. In combination with the bulk-buy savings realized through Solarize, this means that residents can access this green energy source with greater ease. 

How Can I Participate?

Our participating installers have all agreed to tiered discounts, depending on the number of participants​ in a Solarize event. These discounts are available due to the savings realized by both reduced outreach costs for the installers and the ability to place bulk orders on parts.

To learn more o​r to sign-up for a Solarize event, see the event information below or contact Joe Lange, Ann Arbor Solarize program coordinator, at [email protected].

Learn More About Solarize

 

​​​Upcoming Ev​​ents​

Ann Arbor Solar Stories
This one-hour virtual event is hosted by the GLREA on the first Thursday of each month. Join us to hear from Ann Arborites who have gone solar, and have a chance to ask them all your questions! Register for the GLREA's "Thursday Night Energy Events" to receive meeting links.

Solarize Group Buys
Join Ann Arbor residents and solar installers to learn about solar and the group-buy process, and g​et all your questions answered. There are new groups in the process of forming for spring and summer of 2023! Contact Joe Lange​ for more information or to be added to our Solarize mailing list.​​​​

​​Want to Br​​ing Solarize to Your Hometown?

​Staff have created a Solarize Toolkit​​ to help enable other communities throughout the country to pilot similar programs. This toolkit provides information and resources for organizing a pilot group and expanding the program. View the Toolkit​ ​(PDF)! ​​

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Solar Power

Local solar installations are a key component of the City of Ann Arbor’s A2ZERO​ carbon neutrality work.​ Did you know, for example, that Ann Arbor compares favorably to cities implementing​​​ solar programs in other parts of the country and is sun​nier than both Germany and Japan, countries that lead the world in solar energy use? You can learn more about solar power ​at the Residential Consumer Guide to Solar Power or the Department of Energy’s Homeowner’s Guide to Going Solar.


Did you know​? You can improve the impact of your solar panels by starting with energy efficiency improvements that reduce the total energy usage of your home! This will also cut costs on household energy expenses. You can find more information about energy efficiency on our Sustainability at Home​ webpage​.

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Solar Permitting

The City of Ann Arbor offers expedited solar permitting​ for most residential installations. Only an electric permit is required, and we do not charge for line item solar fees, application fees, or plan reviews. Learn whether you are eligible for an expedited permit by filling out the eligibility checklist in step 2 of our solar permit application (PDF).


Commercial installations ​are required to ​file an application and pay the appropriate fee as outlined on the City's Building Department fee site​​.


Learn m​ore about solar permitting by filling out this checklist:
P-1_Permitting Checklist_Ann Arbor_V4 (PDF)


Additional information:
Solar installation - roof access & ventilation requirements (PDF)


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Solar Maps and Potential

Investigate your property’s solar potential on Project Sunroof or explore Ann Arbor’s solar potential. You can also consider using any of the following tools to estimate your solar potential: 

  • PV Watts Calculator: Enter information about your electricity use to run simulations on solar generation and costs throughout the year.​​

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Finding a Contractor

Join an Ann Arbor Solarize event to find an installer and get a discount on going solar. If, however, you'd prefer to move forward on your own, you can find a solar contractor (or two) to assess your home for solar energy and provide a bid. Certified practitioners can be found through Michigan Saves’ list of authorized contractors. Also, check out these resources:

  • Energy Sage​: E​stimate payback periods and get quotes for your home from multiple solar installers online. Enter your address, and Energy Sage will contact you as they receive quotes from local contractors.​

  • Choosing a Solar Installer: An informative short video from GW Solar Institute explaining the questions to ask and research to conduct prior to going solar. 

  • Consumer Solar Checklist: A checklist for residential consumers considering solar energy from IREC, the Inter​state Renewable Energy Council. 

  • Clean Energy Consumer Bill of Rights: Ensu​ring a positive customer experience by addressing important issues from IREC, the Interstate Renewable Energy Council. 

  • Visit the Solar Customer Resource Portal for even more resources  


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Solar Help Desk​

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Non-profit organization Solar United Neighbors has launched a "Solar Help Desk." This is a free service that can help you answer your solar questions, understand your solar estimate(s), and more. View the Solar Help Desk.​


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​Financing, Incentives, and Tax Credits

Typically solar installations are paid for through loans or cash, with Federal incentives available. There is a federal income tax credit of 30% that applies to all installations performed through 2032, before decreasing to 26% in 2033 and to 22% in 2034. ​​​Learn more about how it works and how to claim the credit​


For those looking to finance, check out Michigan Saves,​ a non-profit green bank that provides low-interes​t financing for energy improvements, including solar photovoltaic installa​t​ions. Another handy resource is A Homeowner’s Guide to Solar Financing​ (PDF). ​



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City of Ann Arbor Solar Projects

Preserving the health and sustainability of our climate has been valued by the Ann Arbor comm​unity for many years. It is important for the City to lead by example, and so the City has installed solar power at several municipal locations, and is investigating further installations. Learn more about these City solar installations below. 

Solar on City Facilities

City Council has approved the installation of over 4 MW of rooftop, ground mounted, and carport mounted solar at over a dozen City facilities. This short video​ provides more detail about the project. Additional details can be found on the City Council agenda associated with R-22-186

 and R-23-008. 

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​​Fire Statio​n 6

​​Fire Station 6 n​ear Briarwood Mall is the first City facility to come close to being net zero, with a solar installation that matches energy consumption during peak times.​

Ann Ar​​​bor Farmer's Market

Solar energy provides ar​ound one-third of the Kerrytown Farmer's Market's annual electr​icity usage. 

​Land​​fill Solar Project

The City is currently exploring a 16MW solar installation on a former landfill. This project is curren​tly undergoing technical review, and more details will be available soon. For now, check out this FAQ​​ (PDF) to learn more about the potential project. ​


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Resources



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Real-Time Solar Installation Data

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​​Source: City of Ann Arbor permitting data. Excludes state-permitted properties.


Contact Info

Joe Lange
Energy Analyst

Email Joe