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MI Solar works in Muskegon – Project update

Hesselink Installation – Completed May 19, 2014 – Update January 2015

Why?  Someone has to take a risk and start the ball rolling.  I have always believed in leading by example. Solar does work in Michigan and I want to provide details that actually demonstrate that solar is affordable for an average home owner, on an existing home and that it does work in Michigan. It is exciting to see that so far we are on track for the projected 80%  of my $55.00 monthly savings– Renae Hesselink

Renea Headshot & Solar Pv


  • Muskegon County, Egelston Township
  • 5 KW System, 18 panels, SolarWorld, Made in USA, Solarworld purchases from businesses in Michigan exceeds $1 million
  • Footprint: Approximately 360 square feet
  • 2012 Electric Usage 12,149 Kwh, $ 1686.39 total  Average of 1012
  • 1470 square feet roof
  • 2012 Electric Usage  12,149 Kwh, $ 1686.39 total  Average of 1012 Kwh/month
  • 2013 Electric Usage 8,663 Kwh $1283.18 total  Average of 721 Kwh/month

 Related Costs:

  • Removal of a tree $500 *
  • Upgrade Electrical Panel to 200 amp $1500 *
  • Consumers Energy Application $100
  • Amount Financed: $14,580 @ 7% 10 years
  • Payments $168.10
  • Expected Payback 10 years
  • Expected Panel Life 25 years warranty, life 25 years +
  • Estimated 30% Federal Tax Credit when file 2014 taxes $4810
  • Bottom line cost after 30% tax credit $9770.00

Things to consider:

  • My house faces east so I will not get the maximum production – south facing is the best
  • Inverter replacement expected around year 15

Results after the first 26 days of production

*Not adding into the cost of the system to figure out my return on investment, as I would have done this anyway

Here is a summary of my journey:

September 2013 – was notified that the Mi Solar program is available on the west side of Michigan now

Completed the online application to Srinergy, sent them 12 months of my electric usage – copies of my

Consumers Energy billsUpdate Solar Usage

  • Srinergy determined that I would be eligible with the removal of a tree in my front yard – proposal received
  • October 6, 2013 – tree removed
  • October 18, 2013 – applied for a loan through Genisys Credit Union (I did not have a relationship with a credit union in Michigan which was a requirement for a loan) – approved at 7% interest rate
  • October 21, 2013 Received and signed contract from Srinergy
  • Late October determined that my electrical panel needed to be upgraded to a 200 amp – this was a slow process as I tried to find someone locally to do this work. Finally received a proposal in early January and work was completed in early March. With the harsh winter we had some of the delay was due to having work to be completed outside.
  • December 20, 2013 – Generator Interconnection Application completed and submitted to Consumers Energy with a check for $100 and a site plan
  • Then the harsh, harsh winter sets in and we waited and waited until the deep snow piles surrounding my house disappeared and it warmed up enough to work outside – a very long winter and spring didn’t appear until May it seems like. During this time we attempted to find a local electrical contractor that was willing to learn the skills to install. I originally tried to get the contractor that I had worked with to be the one and they were very slow to respond. Finally Sirnergy found Belasco Electric of Muskegon to work with and train.
  • Pulling the building permit from my Township took about three weeks. Not sure why so long but it finally came through the week of May 5, 2014.
  • May 19, 2014 – installation begins and is completed by May 21st. Before we could turn on the system it had to be approved by the electrical inspector and building inspector which all occurred by May 23rd.
  • May 23rd at 5:00 p.m. I flipped the switch on.
  • A week or so later I received my online account information for Watch-A-Watt so I could view my energy production over the web.
  • May 31, 2014 – completed my installation documents. Afadavit for the Renewable Energy Credits, and completion of the work.
  • June 5, 2014 – completed my loan paperwork, first payment due mid-July
  • Consumers Energy needed to install a bi-directional smart meter – I had a smart meter that had been installed last year but needed to be change and they did that on June 11, 2014 at 11:00 a.m.
  • June 9th received a request that our Township Building Inspector wanted to come on-site to inspect – that was done on June 12th and no issue – received a sign-off

solar2 003

Other things to consider:

Somewhere in that timeline (early on) I also contacted my home insurance company to inquire about extra coverage which was not needed.

Local Fire Department – which I have yet to do as of June 19th – received a document from Srinergy (my request) on how to handle a fire on a structure with rooftop solar. I want to take this and meet with my local fire chief. Training and awareness opportunity.

Things that I will be watching and reporting:  Property Value

Project Team

o  Installer: Srinergy

o  Electrical Contractor: Belasco Electric

Sign up for a free home solar assessment today!

Renae Hesselink Muskegon Homeowner goes solar!

Renae Hesselink is the first in West Michigan homeowner to sign up for the program and just completed her panel install Monday May 19th. Renae served as the past Chair of the US Green Building Council West Michigan (USGBCWM) and is a local sustainability leader.

Tell us about the processRenea Headshot & Solar Pv

“Finally after months of waiting, mostly due to the weather, Srinergy along with a local electrician team has  installed the 5Kw solar system on my home. I will be sharing the entire journey soon. I will have access via the web to see what my panels are generating by hour, by day, by week, month, annually. My goal is to help educate the many people out there that solar does work in Michigan and it is affordable. It should produce nearly the amount of electricity that I use on an annual basis with a return on investment”

“I turned on my solar panels around 5:00 p.m. on May 23rd – that was roughly 25 days ago. To date it has produced 554.9 Kwh an average of 23+  Kwh per day. From mid-April until Mid-May I used 434 total Kwh of electricity.  This system has produced above and beyond what I will use in a month’s time for sunnier months so far.”SOLAR PV Muskegon New

What is the Pay back? 

“My Solar PV will have an estimated return on investment of close to 10 years, increase my home value and allow me to take part in the sustainability movement to get away from fossil fuels”.

What about your home energy use?

Before going solar Renae worked with to get home energy audit and a Residential Energy Performance Score and is currently looking at ways to improve her energy efficiency and comfort.

Renae currently is the Vice President of Sustainability at Nichols in Muskegon and is exploring this application for their corporate headquarters and distribution centers.

Stay tuned for case studies 

Here is a photo of the first panel going up







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