SolarYpsi Leading the Way

Community: City of Ypsilanti
Population: 10,000+

The City of Ypsilanti is pleased to announce that it has been awarded a Gold designation for supporting solar energy development by SolSmart, a national organization dedicated to helping communities reduce barriers to solar energy growth. To achieve the Gold designation, a community must take steps to streamline solar panel installation permitting, track key metrics regarding solar installation, and commit to encouraging local solar installations. Ypsilanti is the only community in Michigan to achieve this award, and one of only 58 communities nationwide.

The City of Ypsilanti being only 4.4 square miles has over 71 solar installations on public and private property. All of the City’s municipal buildings have solar, as well as several school buildings, commercial buildings, and a free-standing 2,500 panel installation.


Increasing solar and lessening dependence on traditional energy sources can be made possible by updating codes and streamlining processes to promote the use and installation of solar; the use of public and private resources to lower the cost of solar; the use of volunteers for the installation of solar; and providing resources to the community.

Creativity and Originality:

SolarYpsi was developed in 2005, in 2017 the City Celebrated installing solar power on its Fire Department and newly renovated event space, the Freighthouse. With these two installations the City was able to claim solar at each of its municipally owned buildings. Not only was the solar installed, all the labor for these last installations was volunteer. The City of Ypsilanti is responsible for 58 percent of all solar production in the State of Michigan by using public-private partnership, having volunteer resources, providing free-technical advice to the community, and creative financing. Ypsilanti took the necessary steps to reduce barriers associated with solar technology to achieve its goals of long term sustainability.

Community Impact:

The City of Ypsilanti has become a showcase for the use of alternative energy, specifically Solar Energy, the City has been featured inn local, regional, and national publications for its creativity in providing solar. The City has a 1.28 Mega Watt production potential and is currently at 58 percent of it's goal in less than 10 years. SolarYpsi is a way for the community to connect around an ideal practice what it preaches as far as respect for the environment and sustainability. Additionally, volunteers show up in droves for to lower the cost of projects and learn new technology. Solar users achieve utility savings and lessen their dependence on the energy grid. The community was a large factor in making the State of Michigan goal of having 15 percent alternative energy sources by 2015. New businesses and developments within the City are made aware of SolarYpsi and easily buy in to the incorporation of alternative energy from the start of their development. The cost savings associated with solar energy allow property owners and businesses to invest in the community is other ways. SolarYpsi's ultimate goal is 1,000 roof-tops of solar energy.

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