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Superior Watershed Partnership provides free solar array to income qualified Upper Michigan homes

The SWP uses Michigan Energy Assistance Program funds to assist UP residents with heating, weatherization assistance and case management to reduce the home energy burden.
The Superior Watershed Partnership (SWP) Energy Conservation Corps (ECC) just completed installing 6 free residential solar arrays in Delta, Iron and Menominee counties.
The Superior Watershed Partnership (SWP) Energy Conservation Corps (ECC) just completed installing 6 free residential solar arrays in Delta, Iron and Menominee counties.(SWP)
Published: Aug. 20, 2020 at 5:55 PM EDT
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MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - The Superior Watershed Partnership (SWP) Energy Conservation Corps (ECC) just completed installing 6 free residential solar arrays in Delta, Iron and Menominee counties. An additional 5 free residential solar arrays funded by the Michigan Energy Assistance Program (MEAP) and the Upper Peninsula Power Company (UPPCO) are planned to be installed in Delta & Houghton counties by September 30, 2020.

The SWP was awarded MEAP funding by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) and the Michigan Public Service Commission for the 7th year. The SWP uses MEAP funds to assist Upper Peninsula Michigan residents with heating, weatherization assistance and case management to reduce the home energy burden. Weatherization services included in the MEAP grant include: 400 Homes Energy Scores, 50 weatherization projects valued at $300 and the installation of 5 residential solar arrays.

UPPCO awarded the SWP funding for the 3rd year to assist income-eligible UPPCO residents with 100 Home Energy Scores, 76 energy efficient refrigerators, and 1 residential solar array.

Since 2018, the SWP has installed 13 residential solar arrays funded by various organizations including: MEAP, Community Foundation of Marquette County, CS Mott Foundation, UPPCO and the United Way in the counties of Delta, Houghton, Iron, Marquette, Menominee and Schoolcraft.

Who is eligible? Households who present with an energy crisis (past due bill or shut off notice) will initially apply for the State Emergency Relief (SER) program, either directly with the MDHHS using MIBridges or a paper application, or with assistance from the SWP MEAP team or project partners, and MDHHS will determine eligibility for Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program assistance. Households must fall at or below the 150 percent Federal Poverty Level to be eligible for SER and MEAP.

After the Michigan household has been SER approved through MDHHS, the SWP MEAP team can help eligible households with co-payments and subsequent heating and electric bills. The SWP MEAP also offers “utility” affordable payment plans and self-sufficiency services including energy education, financial counseling, free Home Energy Score assessments and free solar panel installation for up to five qualified households.

To be considered for a residential solar array, a household must be SER approved and must complete the MEAP basic requirements. The resident must own their home and have a Home Energy Score completed by the ECC for the household to be considered for the project. Other restrictions apply.

The Home Energy Score, developed by the Department of Energy, provides home owners, buyers, and renters directly comparable and credible information about a home’s energy use. The HES Report estimates home energy use, associated costs, and provides energy solutions to cost-effectively improve the home’s efficiency. Each Home Energy Score is shown on a simple one-to-ten scale, where a ten represents the most efficient homes.

The SWP will analyze energy usage data for 5 years after installation to measure the overall benefits of the program. Each household can anticipate a 20-35 percent energy savings after the installation of their residential solar array.

Please call the SWP ENERGY OFFICE for specific questions at 906-273-2742.

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