Detroit Solar Toolkit

View the Solar Map.


Watch a recording of our Detroit Solar Toolkit Webinar.

The purpose of the Detroit Solar Toolkit is to enable Detroiters to be able to transform the solar radiation that strikes the ground in Detroit into electricity they can use to power their homes, schools, and businesses.

The Sustainability Action Agenda has an ambitious goal to double the amount of energy generated from solar installations in Detroit by 2024. We would like as many Detroiters as possible to be a part of the solar revolution.

The city of Detroit Housing and Revitalization Department and Office of Sustainability (OoS) conducted a solar feasibility assessment to investigate and determine the potential for solar energy generation at different scales in Detroit. The study aimed to gather insight and recommendations from the greater community associated with or currently working toward solar energy deployment as various phases of projects.

The Detroit Solar Toolkit was developed through extensive engagement with internal and external stakeholders, including city departments, community members, non-profit organizations, and solar advocates.

The Detroit Solar Toolkit is the result of this work, consisting of five different tools to enable Detroiters to undertake the equitable deployment of solar energy as a path to a more sustainable future for residents of Detroit.

  • Online Solar Map: Interactive map that identifies the solar generation potential of all buildings and parcels in Detroit.
  • Solar 101: Guide outlining how energy efficiency and solar work together in a home and basic steps towards implementing solar.
  • Benefits of Solar:  Guide for homeowners and residents interested in the opportunities that solar energy can provide.
  • Solar FAQ: Answers frequently asked questions about solar for your home or business.
  • Solar Jobs and Training: Guide to existing and proposed career and training opportunities in solar energy.
  • Solar Design Guidelines: Design recommendations for how to fit solar installations in with the surrounding context, design the edge of solar installations, approach different land uses, maximize landscape opportunities and layer solar with other uses, and celebrate solar as an educational opportunity. (See Solar Design Renderings for example designs that illustrate the design recommendations.)
  • Solar Building Approval Process: Outlines the steps that residents and/or business owners seeking to develop solar must go through with the City of Detroit Buildings, Safety, Engineering, and Environmental Department (BSEED) and DTE.
  • Detroit Financial Models Report: The Detroit Solar Financial Models Report is meant to provide high-level guidance in considering whether or not a solar project is a good investment covering technical and financial considerations ranging from direct ownership to Power Purchase Agreements.
  • Detroit Solar Diagrammatic Renderings: The solar diagrammatic renderings included illustrate proposed solar design guidelines, as deployed on representative properties in Detroit. Precedent images showcase key design guidelines that introduce solar in the public realm, prioritizing education and placemaking, as well as co-benefits and performance.
  • Detroit Solar Policy Guide: City Level: The overall purpose of this report is to analyze how the City of Detroit can more effectively promote the development of privately owned local solar energy systems.
  • Detroit Solar Policy Guide: State Level: The overall purpose of this report is to analyze State of Michigan energy laws and how they impact solar deployment in Detroit.

These tools were developed by the amazing team lead by Elevate Energy with partners Detroit Collaborative Design Center, Data Driven Detroit, EcoWorks, Great Lakes Environmental Law Center, Michigan Energy Options, and the National Renewables Energy Laboratory with funding generously provided by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development Community Development Block Grant – Declared Disaster Recovery.