Escanaba in da Sunlight: Solar in the Great North

November 15, 2019

I spent a few days in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula for a talk on Solar Energy, then ran down to Northern Central Michigan College in Petoskey for a Climate presentation. All just in time to get hammered by the latest polar vortex and lake effect snow squalls.

What’s really cool is I’ve been fortunate enough to be joined by the Land and Liberty Coalition, a politically conservative, but climate-and-energy aware group that’s pitching in with renewable energy across the midwest. Great outreach across boundaries to work for something we all need.

WLUC Escanaba:

ESCANABA, Mich. (WLUC) – Videographer and climate educator Peter Sinclair gave a presentation on the future of solar Wednesday night in Escanaba.

The session, called ‘Sun 101,’ talks about the benefits and realities of solar energy for the future.

It came directly after the UP Energy Task Force meeting about propane, in which some task force members remained to listen.

Sinclair gathers research from scientists and presents it to communities considering solar. Escanaba Township has been debating the implementation of a solar farm for months.

“It has a tremendous number of advantages in terms of flexibility,” says Sinclair. “It can be home scale, business scale, it can be community scale.” 

Sinclair says other advantages include the fact that it creates energy without creating carbon – a major contributor to climate change.

Below, Michigander Jeff Daniels discusses the magic that is the UP.

7 Responses to “Escanaba in da Sunlight: Solar in the Great North”

  1. Daniel Berger Says:

    So, serious question: what do people living in snowy climates do about rooftop solar that’s covered with wet snow / thick ice? I have about 2-6 inches of frozen snow on top of my solar panels; a couple of them have a drift crest across them. The roof is a shallow pitch. Right now we’re having above-freezing weather, but just barely.

    I’m getting no production from them at all right now.

    I understand that panels need to be kept clean of snow, but getting up on my roof is not really an option with all the ice that’s about. So… do people that live off-the-grid in, say, Colorado just build climbable roof access for winter? What do they do?

    • rhymeswithgoalie Says:

      Why do they have shallow pitch at that latitude? Was is cost-prohibitive to mount them on angled racks?

      (I don’t have solar panels on my house, as it would entail cutting down several trees and need a service or automated cleaner to rid the panels of the accumulation of dust, pollen and leaves on a frequent basis.)

    • Elizabeth Dell Says:

      We bought one of these roof rakes for our solar panels. It has a very long extension so we can reach all the panels except the ones on a much higher pitch. https://www.roofrake.com/Productpages/snowpro2.asp

  2. grindupbaker Says:

    “then ran down to Northern Central Michigan College in Petoskey”. Since I’ve essentially stopped bicycling with decrepitude, that sort of talk just makes me feel deep shame.

    • Brent Jensen-Schmidt Says:

      Relinquish gracefully the things of youth. Or, in my case, kicking, screaming and bitching all the way.


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