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​​​​​​Solar Hot Water        Solar Electric        City Projects        Installing Solar​

Solar_Miller Manor_8.17.15 007.JPGNature runs on solar power and so can we! The sun in Southeast Michigan can provide a significant percentage of our community's energy needs. According to the US Department of Energy, this clean renewable resource is available to southeast Michiganders an average of 4-6 hours daily. If every residential building in Ann Arbor had a one kilowatt solar electric system on the roof, we could generate over 30 million kilowatt-hours of clean electricity each year or about 10% of the Ann Arbor's 2000 residential electrical use. A group of university students working with the EnHouse at the ReUse Center used aerial photographs to analyze the solar potential of single-family houses in Ann Arbor. Their study concluded that 86% of 22,000 Ann Arbor rooftops would be feasible sites for solar hot water installations.
Ann Arbor compares favorably to cities implementing solar programs in other parts of the country and is sunnier than both Germany and Japan, countries that lead the world in solar energy use. More specifically, Ann Arbor's solar exposure is:

  • 97% of Madison, WI
  • 98% of Chicago, IL
  • 80% of San Francisco, CA
  • 78% of Austin, TX
  • 108% of Portland, OR

Solar Hot Water

A solar hot water system is one of the most cost-effective ways to use renewable energy in Southeast Michigan.  In a typical solar hot water system, panels on the roof allow the sun to heat a glycol solution that circulates through a heat exchanger in the hot water tank. The picture at right shows solar water heating panels on the roof of Fire Station #1 in downtown Ann Arbor, which were installed with the help of a $6,000 grant from the Michigan Energy Office. The Fire Station solar system is expected to provide about half of the station's hot water needs and pay for itself in about six years. See the Final Report for this project.

Residential systems typically cost about $6,000 and are eligible for federal tax credits.  Most systems pay for themselves in 6-10 years.

Solar Electric (Photovoltaics)

Residential solar electric systems typically cost around $10,000 (more for systems with battery backup), not including applicable federal tax credits and new rebates and assistance from Detroit Edison. Now is a great time to consider solar as costs have dropped dramatically over just the last few years - as in over 200%! Check out why Solar is the "New Stainless".

Installing Solar

Solar is EASY and finding a quality installer is just a click away. Visit a2energy contractor partners​ for a list of installers who can assist you, or visit Great Lakes Renewable Energy's business directory​

​Solar is more affordable than ever. For less than the cost of a compact car you could supply your home's electricity for 25 years or more. Learn more about the federal SunShot program and about residential renewable energy tax creditsLearn more about how you can take advantage of incentives available for solar PV by visiting

What projects are completed and underway?​

Solar America Cities

10-kW Solar Installation at Kerrytown Farmers Market

  • The City installed its flagship solar installation at the Ann Arbor Farmers Market in 2008. The 10-kW photovoltaic (PV) system was funded by local matching funds from the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority and supplies about one-third of the energy needs of the market office and vendor stalls. You can view data now by accessing the Sunny Portal. The Farmers Market system is about 2.5 to 5 times the size of a system that a typical home would require. Check out the brochure (pdf) on the Farmers Market solar installation. 
Solar at Ann Arbor Fire Stations

  • Solar hot water heaters are installed at many of Ann Arbor fire stations, including Fire Stations 1 and 3. Solar hot water helps lower energy use and greenhouse gas emissions.

Ann Arbor Solar Plan

  • In 2010, the City partnered with Clean Energy Coalition to develop The City of Ann Arbor Solar Plan (pdf). The plan addresses benefits and barriers to solar in Ann Arbor and makes recommendations on how to move solar forward.
Solar at Ann Arbor Housing Commission

  • In August 2015, the Ann Arbor Housing Commission installed a 42-kW solar rooftop system at Miller Manor, a housing site with over 100 units. The Commission is looking to install another 170 kW of solar at new housing commission sites​.

Community Solar

  • Ann Arbor is working with Clean Energy Coalition to investigate ways to create options for solar across the community.

Energy Office
301 E. Huron St.
P.O. Box 8647
Ann Arbor, MI 48107
(734) 794-6430 x43726

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Download Ann Arbor's Solar Plan (pdf)​.

Download a Solar Flyer (pdf) to learn more about solar powering your home. 

Check out Ann Arbor's Solar America Cities profile