Letters

Letters 04-14-14

Benishek Inching

Regarding “Benishek No Environmentalist” I agree with Mr. Powell’s letter to the editor/ opinion of Congressman Dan Benishek’s poor environmental record and his penchant for putting corporate interests ahead of his constituents’...

Climate Change Warning

Currently there are three assaults on climate change. The first is on the integrity of the scientists who support human activity in climate change. Second is that humans are not capable of affecting the climate...

Fed Up About Roads

It has gotten to the point where I cringe when I have to drive around this area. There are areas in Traverse City that look like a war zone. When you have to spend more time viewing potholes instead on concentrating on the road, accidents are bound to happen...

Don’t Blame the IRS

I have not heard much about the reason for the IRS getting itself entangled with the scrutiny of certain conservative 501(c) groups (not for profit) seeking tax exemption. Groups seeking tax relief must be organizations that are operated “primarily for the purpose of bringing about civic betterment and social improvements.”


Home · Articles · News · Features · Charged up
. . . .

Charged up

Erin Crowell - May 31st, 2010
Charged Up: Supersized solar system powers new parking deck
By Erin Crowell
“The best market for solar is out over parking lots,” architect Robert
Noble said in a May 2010 Green Tech Media article. The founder of the
California-based company, Envision Solar, realized back in 2007 that
parking lot and carport roofs were ideal for collecting solar power.
The idea has been adopted on the roof of the new Old Town parking deck
in Traverse City. Currently under construction, the $7.9 million,
four-level structure will be home to one of the largest solar arrays
north of Muskegon.
“This is a huge array,” says Matthew Vajda, owner of Voltage Electric,
the Traverse City company which received the electrical bid on the
parking deck.
The 186-panel, 40.2 kilowatt array will provide close to 15% of the
structure’s total energy needs.
“Residential solar systems typically run around 5 kilowatts, which is
still a pretty large system,” Vajda says. “The 40.2 kilowatt array is
the largest north of Grand Rapids. They’re currently building a larger
system in Muskegon.”

LOCAL BIDS
The Old Town parking deck project is managed by CWS Architects, the TC
firm responsible for such projects as the much-anticipated Grand
Traverse YMCA building on Silver Lake Road and the Cathedral Barn at
the Grand Traverse Commons.
Having worked on other projects with Voltage Electric, CWS architect
Ray Kendra was comfortable with using the company as the solar
installer. “We are one of just a few local companies that won bids on
the parking deck,” says Vajda. “It’s very exciting.”
Vajda agrees that a parking deck is an optimal location for using solar.
“For one thing, you’ve got the real estate. You’ve got the roof – a
space that you wouldn’t use for anything else. Second, the electricity
is right where you need it, versus racks upon racks in the middle of a
field. Also, because it’s a LEED certified job (an economical and
environmental standard set by the U.S. Green Building Council), you
get more return on your investment doing solar, versus planting some
trees or shrubs,” he adds.
Although solar is pricey—this particular endeavor costing around
$240,000—the return is about 20 years, “a huge payback” according to
Vajda, who also serves as a board member on the Home Builders
Association.
Currently, Michigan is limited in its solar incentives, but Vajda
believes that will change soon.
“Green building is something I’m strongly in favor of and we really
just want to be ahead of the curve,” he adds.
Vajda anticipates solar array installation on the parking deck will be
completed sometime by the end of June, beginning of July.

Contact Voltage Electric at
231-946-3678 or visit them online at
www.voltageelectric.net.

 
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