Solar Ypsi founder Dave Strenski spoke about his vision for expanding the usage of solar power and ways for the state of Michigan to regenerate the economy by switching over from coal and natural gas. Solar Ypsi is an organization dedicated to increasing the usage of solar power.
Strenski’s presentation, an event nearly 50 people attended, was hosted by the Creative Scientific Inquiry Experience at EMU.
According to Jose Vites, a CSIE faculty associate, CSIE is designed to increase students interested in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. After seeing one of Strenski’s Google advertisements promoting Solar Ypsi, CSIE decided to invite Strenski to speak.
“Solar Ypsi is a multidisciplinary initiative that encompasses many of EMU’s programs of studies,” Vites said.
“We want our students to be aware that many of the subjects they are learning in the classroom have concrete and very desirable applications, real-world applications do not fall within a single field of studies, and that their acquired knowledge can be used in a manner that can have a very positive impact to their communities and society.”
Vites explained how the decision was made for Strenski to visit EMU.
“In the process of creating connections, we look for local initiatives, and Solar Ypsi is right here in Ypsilanti,” he said. “When Dave Strenski was contacted, he was very helpful in scheduling a presentation in our campus.”
In addition to his interest in solar power, Strenski said the motivation for promoting solar power comes from its economic benefits.
“$18 billion dollars leaves Michigan every year to buy coal, natural gas and oil. And if we could make our own power, however you want to do it, it’d be like ejecting $18 billion dollars toward the economy.”
Because they are mounted directly on the building they power, solar panels are able to generate power on site. Strenski said about 10 percent of power generated by coal is lost in transmission. Generating energy onsite
with solar panels reduces the amount of coal need to transmit energy and the amount of energy that gets lost.
“Every time you put on solar panels, think about one less shovel full of coal going into a power plant,” Strenski said.
All solar panels are mounted on buildings facing south to catch the sun’s rays as it moves across the sky and
are mounted in accordance with the latitude on which Ypsilanti is located.
“What we’re trying to maximize here is better sun. We want our sun to hit the panel as perpendicular as possible. That’s how we get maximum power.”
Solar panels have so far been installed in Ypsilanti at the, Ypsilanti Food Coop, the Riverstreet Bakery, Ypsilanti City Hall, Adams S.T.E.M. Academy and the Corner Brewery. Strenski does not currently have any direct plans to install solar panels at EMU.