SAGINAW (WWJ) — Saginaw Future Inc., the regional economic development agency for the Saginaw Bay area, announced a free solar power site assessment for businesses in an 11-county area in the Great Lakes Bay area, the Thumb and Mid-Michigan.

The Great Lakes Bay Region Solar Program is sponsored by the Clean Energy Coalition, Great Lakes Bay Region 5 and the Michigan Economic Development Corp.

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The free solar site assessment will help business owners determine the viability of solar energy at their location and whether or not they’d like to join others in the bulk purchasing of solar installations.

The bulk purchasing opportunity offers a tiered pricing structure, which means the more solar installed, the more money customers will save. For example, if a total of 80 kilowatts of solar were installed the price per watt would drop from $3.39 to $3.25. However, if effort is able to install more than 200 kilowatts solar during the project period the price per watt would be $3.08. In other words, the more solar panel systems that are installed the more reasonable the price of the system will be. All the participants will share in the savings making solar energy more affordable for everyone.

A local company, Midland Solar Applications Inc., has been selected as the contractor for the program and will be providing the free solar assessments for properties in the region. The project is limited to the first 20 businesses that apply.

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The program is meant to encourage the adoption of small to midsized photovoltaic systems.

Those interested in the program should email or visit

The project is only available to commercial properties Arenac, Bay, Clare, Gladwin, Gratiot, Huron, Isabella, Midland, Saginaw, Sanilac, and Tuscola counties.

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Sites are to be identified this fall and winter, with sites confirmed by spring and all installations completed next summer.