In the mitten, an energy co-operative emerges

In the midst of a comically anti-environmental political climate, local entrepreneurs are finding more creative ways to fight the oligopoly, the ensuing climate crisis, and large energy bills. In Lansing, an off-grid initiative is taking seed.

With the Grand Ledge Fledge (http://grandledgefledge.com) as the initial venue, a local coalition is organizing an independent, co-operative solar array throughout metropolitan Lansing.

The start-up partners in the coalition are the Lansing MAN pilot site, the Grand Ledge Fledge, the newly formed Mid-Michigan Renewable Energy Co-operative, and the Mid-Michigan Time Bank (http://midmichigantimebank.org).

Citizens are invited to become members of the co-operative energy project by investing only their time. In doing so, they will have solar panels installed at their own homes.

Ultimately, one of the goals of the project is to make energy more affordable for the average citizen by saving on monthly bills.

“Applying co-operative principles to renewable energy production is going to enable low-cost installations for average citizens that might not otherwise be able to benefit from wind and solar,” co-operative member Scott Murto said.

“We’re really looking forward to seeing this template replicated across the state if what we’re trying to do here is successful.”

With funding from the Smith Energy Trust (https://www.facebook.com/groups/292164667601010/?fref=ts), the group is in the process of installing its first of many kilowatts in solar panel capacity.

In the initial phases of the co-operative, the revenue from monthly energy savings at members’ homes will return to the savings pool to continue investing in additional installations throughout the community.

Once these initial panels are paid off, homeowners will have the opportunity to collect their own energy savings dollars to whatever extent they choose.

The pilot solar array at the Grand Ledge Fledge will also enable the construction of a Tesla electric car charging station on-site, as well as a charging station for mobile devices.

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