Built 103 years ago in Detroit’s East Riverfront area, The Elevator Building at 1938 Franklin has in recent years gone from  empty, crumbling industrial building to fully leased offices for small businesses.

Now, make that fully leased offices with a photovoltaic solar system on the roof.

Helping to fulfill the mission of The Elevator Building’s owners, The Detroitist Group, to be environmentally conscientious, SRI Energy of Novi is scheduled to begin installation of solar panels on the south-facing roof in August.

“We’re continually seeking innovative ways to lower our carbon footprint and offer cost saving benefits,” said Randy Lewarchik, an owner and partner of The Detroitist Group. “The solar panels will be used to generate electricity for common areas that are available to our tenants such as the kitchen and showering facilities.”

For SRI Energy, which provides design and installation for small to large-scale residential and commercial projects, the installation is an opportunity to help people understand that solar energy has a wide span of uses and is not limited to new construction.

According to Prasad Gullapalli, founder of SRI Energy, LLC, each project begins with a site evaluation, development of a design that meets each client’s energy and budget needs, assistance with local government permits along with seeking opportunities for state and federal grant subsidies.

Another benefit is that the installation has an anticipated payback of less than 10 years which includes incentives from the federal government and DTE Energy’s SolarCurrents program. SRI Energy will finance the installation through GE Money in a way that the owners’ monthly payments will be less than the monthly energy costs.

It is projected that the solar photovoltaic system design for The Elevator Building will generate 760 megawatts of energy over 25 years, which is equivalent to consuming 1,260 barrels of oil or avoiding the production of 545 metric tons of carbon dioxide.

Lewarchik is confident that The Elevator Building can become a model for other Detroit buildings, demonstrating how business owners and developers can cost effectively implement green initiatives to stimulate new business and revitalize urban areas in Detroit.

Founded by Prasad Gullapalli, SRI Energy LLC is located in Novi, with sales, design, and engineering capabilities available for commercial and residential solar panel installations throughout Michigan. SRI stands for “Socially Responsible Individual” to give emphasis to the company’s offering of green energy solutions to individuals and organizations that are socially responsible.  SRI Energy finances many of its own projects, including the ability to finance projects through GE Money.
More at www.srienergy.org.


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