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XSeed Energy to Install Solar Panels at Michigan Theater

The Ypsilanti-based Clean Energy Coalition (CEC) is the parent organization for the newly-formed XSeed Energy, “Ann Arbor‘s Community Power Project.”  XSeed’s inaugural project, approved at their August 12 meeting by the Historic District Commission, will be the installation of solar panels at the Michigan Theater at 603 East Liberty Street.

Using funding from community donations and grants, XSeed Energy was created with the goal of developing renewable energy projects in Ann Arbor. Profits will be recycled back into an ‘Energy Bank’ to fund ongoing renewable energy installations. The goal – and hence, the name – is to ‘seed’ community funded, and possibly community owned, power projects in Ann Arbor.

For this first project, a set of 60-foot solar panels will be placed on the south-facing wall of the Michigan Theater, then connected to the local power grid. According to Bonnie Bona, project manager for XSeed Energy and former chair of Ann Arbor’s planning commission, the Michigan Theater was selected for XSeed’s first project “because of the public visibility of the solar panels, the theater’s willingness to participate, its community involvement, and the fact that it is already pursuing other renewable energy solutions.”

Russ Collins, executive director and CEO of the Michigan Theater, notes that the roof of the theater was recently painted white, significantly reducing its carbon dioxide emissions. The theater has also switched many of its light bulbs to more efficient compact fluorescent lamp bulbs. “We will continue to pursue green improvements as we can,” Collins said.

The panels themselves will be selected over the next few months, and Michigan-based products and installers will be given preference. XSeed hopes to use this project to catalyze the green jobs sector in Michigan. The installation is scheduled to take place in November.

The CEC is partnered with the City of Ann Arbor, the Michigan Energy Office, the University of Michigan, and the US Department of Energy. CEC’s ongoing initiatives include Clean Cities, Biofuel Incentive Grants, Solar America Cities, Rebuild Ypsilanti, Energy Outlet, and Michigan Energy $ense.

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