Sterling Services remains committed to lowering their carbon footprint by using solar energy panels at their facility in Hamtramck, Mich. The company installed a 19.9-kilowatt solar array on the roof in 2011, which helps offset the total cost of their energy bill monthly.
In 2008, DTE Energy began offering a DTE Solar Currents program that businesses could join and receive credits for their inclusion in the program. The program recipients receive an upfront Renewable Energy Credit of $2.40 per watt coupled with monthly credit on their bill based on 11 cents per kilowatt-hour generated. Total savings from the program, the federal subsidy, and other local incentives covered about half the cost of the solar panel, according to DTE data.
DTE created a fund to help the effort, half to help with the internal push into supplying more renewable energy to its customers. The other half helps their clients, making the switch to renewable energy more cost effective. By 2011, they spent more than 25 million dollars to get customers to make the switch to solar energy. The federal government offers tax credit of 30 percent for those who installed renewable energy by December 31, 2019. If you installed after that date but before January 1, 2021, your tax credit is 26 percent and in the final year the subsidy is available, it goes down to 22 percent.
In the state of Michigan, the renewable portfolio standard increased to 15 percent in late 2016, which means 15 percent of the state’s electricity needs to come from wind and/or solar energy by 2021. That is up from 10 percent in 2015 and 12.5 percent for 2019 and 2020.
The solar panels they have should last them close to 50 years and weather is not a deterrent. The panels are built to withstand the weather and if they are covered in snow and the sun is out, the energy that it collects throughout is stored.
Sterling since implementing of their solar array has offset approximately 420 trees a year and approximately 33,600 pounds of their carbon footprint a year since joining the program. With their business being in petroleum and chemical blending and manufacturing, they found another way to give back to the environment by using solar energy.
On average, Sterling generates about 2.1 MWh of energy a month through their solar panel. On a monthly basis, they can offset their carbon footprint by one ton which is the equivalent of approximately 25.
Sterling Services has always been dedicated to being a community conscious organization, volunteering and supporting neighborhood initiatives. Sterling is dedicated to not creating any waste and reusing or recycling any by-products from their facility. The solar array is a great example in which Sterling took the initiative to apply and receive grant money to install an array that has true benefits for the company and the community.