Friday, January 28, 2011

Beecher Business District Hopes to Create a "Solar City"

For those who don't know, Beecher is just to the north of Flint - and they have hit on an idea to draw the curious crowds of shoppers, and save their businesses some money, too. There are 66 businesses on Saginaw Rd. off of 475, and they are hoping to get grants and donations and whatever it takes to get them all equipped with solar panels.

Go for it.

Solar City is the business association’s latest effort to lift up the Beecher business district, part of a struggling neighborhood that falls into both Genesee and Mt. Morris townships.

“People don’t want to come (to Beecher). We’re going to change that,” said Jacky King, owner of King Karate at 5339 N. Saginaw Road and co-founder of the business association. “I think Solar City is the way to do it. ... We will change this community.”

26 panels for each building is the average estimate, with the total cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $1.5 million. They hope to have it completed within a year. For those businesses that don't use a lot of power, it may cover their entire electric bill.

Mike Besser, owner of Roma Pizzeria and Restaurant at 5227 N. Saginaw Road, said even a 25 percent savings would be huge — considering his energy bills range from $1,600 to $2,200 a month.

“It’s just one more little step (in the right direction) and that’s what we need,” Besser said. “I think (the project) would make people stop looking at all the negative aspects of the area.”

Once the solar panels are installed businesses could save an estimated $47,000 combined each year, Craft said.

Now imagine if everyone did that...