Status of Solar Power in Michigan

The single most important thing we could do for solar power in Michigan is remove the cap on net metering.


Michigan’s solar industry is one of the fastest growing industries in the state accounting for over 10,000 jobs. This could double in the next two years if we just get out of the way. Michigan’s inconsistent solar policies are keeping solar installers from investing in new employees, trucks, buildings, leases, advertising, equipment and more.

The solar industry has been fighting the utility company lobbing efforts for the last several years. Initially, it had been to keep a fair net metering policy. Now they have to fight the utilities against the .5% cap on residential net metering. This .5% cap allows the utility companies to limit their residential customer to only enough solar to offset ½ of 1% off the utility company’s load. Continue reading “Status of Solar Power in Michigan”

Wildflowers of Michigan Nature Association (MNA) Sanctuaries

This is the Sierra Club SEMG program for Thursday, June 1, 2017. The meeting starts at 6:30 pm at the Elks Lodge, 2401 E. 4th St., Royal Oak, MI (at the corner of 4th St. & SB I-75 Service Drive, South of 11 Mile Rd.).

The purpose of the Michigan Nature Association is to acquire, protect and maintain natural areas that contain examples of Michigan endangered and threatened flora, fauna, and other components of the natural environment, including habitat for fish, wildlife and plants of the state of Michigan and to carry on a program of natural history study and conservation education. They started six decades ago as a small bird study group. Today, they have a statewide network of more than 170 nature sanctuaries across Michigan. Continue reading “Wildflowers of Michigan Nature Association (MNA) Sanctuaries”

Penny Poll Results

SEMG did a Penny Poll at the Indivisible Fair in Farmington Hills on May 20.

Our sign said:







There were cups labeled with 11 environmental issues, so people had to think about actual priorities. Putting one penny per cup would not work. I told them it was like not having enough hours in the day to take care of everything. They had to decide which issues are immediate and critical, and which ones, while still important, are less critical.

The results were:

112 – Clean Affordable Water for All
106 – Transition to Clean Energy
88 – Ban Fracking in Michigan
72 – Support Public Transportation
68 – Shut Down Line 5 (Mackinac)
59 – Keep Public Lands Public
51 – Crack Down on Chemical Pollution
47 – Prevent Invasive Species
39 – Stop Radioactive Waste Dumping
31 – Carbon Tax and Dividend
31 – Control CAFO and Agricultural Runoff

Interestingly, several people asked me, “What is a CAFO?” Only one person asked about Line 5, and that one was wondering if it was one of the new piplelines being built. People are generally aware of what the issues are, and I think the results reasonably well show the priorities of a large, liberal group.

The numbers add up to 704, so either 70 people participated and there were 4 extra pennies, or 71 did, but we were 6 pennies short. Or, just possibly, I miscounted slightly. I think it is safe to say that 70 people participated, and there were errors handing out stacks of pennies or error in counting them at the end; likely a bit of both.

I believe Clean Affordable Water for All came in first because both the lead poisoning of Flint and the water shutoffs in Detroit are inherently political issues, and this was a political crowd. Transition to Clean Energy in a close second place means, to me, people in general understand what needs to be done.

That’s all the interpretation of the numbers I want to do, because these two issues are, as far as I can tell, in a class by themselves – broadly defined issues with really broad support. If you want to bring up just one or two environmental issues that will cause candidates to show their true colors, ask them what they are doing about these two.

100% Renewable, Really?

Can a city actually run on 100% renewable electricity? Well, yes. We know this because some cities are already doing it. The particulars will be different for each city. The resources available will differ, as will the timeline and the public’s understanding of the benefits of renewable and the disadvantages of fossil and nuclear fuels.

Here’s a short film that takes 14-1/2 minutes to explore one city that has done it:

Solar Power in Michigan

Solar Power in Michigan” is the topic for the local Sierra Club program for Thursday, May 4, 2017. It’s free and open to the public; any interested person can attend. The location is the Elks Lodge, 2401 E. 4th St., Royal Oak, MI (at the corner of 4th St. & SB I-75 Service Drive, South of 11 Mile Rd.). From 6:30-7:00, snacks & socializing; announcements from 7:00-7:10; the presentation starts at 7:10.

This meeting will feature a three-person panel with deep practical experience of solar power in Michigan. The Michigan Chapter of the Sierra Club is partnering with Michigan Solar Solutions, Solar Winds and McNaughton-McKay Electric Company to help Michigan Sierra Club members and supporters make their homes solar-powered! The partnership means these carefully vetted, qualified, residential solar-power installers and providers of the highest quality solar products can help move you into the clean energy column. Read more about this at Continue reading “Solar Power in Michigan”

Peoples’ Climate March, April 29

The Peoples’ Climate March in Washington, DC on April 29 is a national event which the Sierra Club is supporting. For details, see

Buses from the Detroit Metro area to the Peoples’ Climate March are being organized by Andrew Sarpolis. For details about cost and schedule, download the flyer here. Contact Andrew at or (248) 924-4857 if you want to reserve a seat.

If you don’t have time or money to go to Washington, there’s also a local event. The program starts promptly at noon on April 29 at the Charles h Wright museum of African American History, 315 East Warren Avenue in Detroit. The march to Peck Park in Detroit (Brush and Frederick Street) begins from the museum at 12:45 pm. At Peck Park, “The Future of Detroit is NOW” rally starts at 2:00 pm, ends at 4:00 pm.