UP brewery, trail organization benefit from state energy efficiency, renewable energy award

David Manson, co-owner of Blackrocks Brewery was impressed by the immediate energy savings...
David Manson, co-owner of Blackrocks Brewery was impressed by the immediate energy savings that solar provides. (Superior Watershed Partnerships Photo) (WLUC)
Published: Oct. 4, 2019 at 6:39 PM EDT
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The Superior Watershed Partnership (SWP) and the Energy Conservation Corps (ECC) recently completed a 20-panel, rooftop solar installation at the Blackrocks Brewery production facility in Marquette. The SWP received a Community Energy Management (CEM) award through the Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE), Energy Services (formerly Michigan Energy Office) with Blackrocks providing local match.

David Manson, co-owner of Blackrocks Brewery was impressed by the immediate energy savings that solar provides. "Hopefully more businesses can move towards incorporating solar and other energy efficiencies. We were able to take this first step thanks to the SWP and the Community Energy grant program."

The CEM program is designed to assist communities wherever they are on the energy management spectrum. Whether just getting started with an energy audit, implementing energy efficiency projects, or implementing a renewable energy project.

Julie Staveland with Energy Services toured the Blackrocks facility and was pleased to see the many community partners involved in the project.

"EGLE Energy Services is glad we were able to help support this project, as it demonstrates to the community the energy management process of energy audit, energy efficiency upgrades and then renewable energy, and also provides a close to home example of the energy savings achievable."

The Blackrocks project also provided ECC crew members with valuable hands-on training working alongside Homeland Solar technicians. ECC members gained more experience and acquired new skills needed in the fast-growing solar power industry. In addition, ECC members worked in cooperation with Michigan Energy Options conducting an energy assessment of the Blackrocks building and implementing a range of interior energy conservation and waste reduction measures which included professional installation of energy efficient LED lighting.

The award from EGLE also allowed the SWP, ECC and MEO to conduct an energy audit and implement extensive energy conservation measures at the Noquemanon Trail Network (NTN) Forestville Trailhead building in Marquette Township. The NTN mission is to develop, maintain and promote the use of a non-motorized trail network throughout the Central Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Both the SWP and NTN are non-profit organizations and have previously partnered on building new trails and related environmental initiatives.

In addition to the environmental programs the SWP provides the following energy programs and services for Upper Peninsula communities; the Michigan Energy Assistance Program, low income solar installation, the Energy Conservation Corps, home energy assessments, energy conservation, weatherization and more.