Solar Power World’s 2022 Greenest Contractor turned its headquarters into a wildlife refuge

The Greenest Contractor award recognizes the greenest contractors who make their businesses and communities as environmentally friendly as possible.

“MSS is very proud of what we have achieved. This property is a testament to what can be done.”

-Mark Hagerty, president of Michigan Solar Solutions

Tackling climate change goes beyond the mission of reducing CO2 emissions and slowing global temperature rises. Environmental changes are often man-made and the introduction of invasive species into new environments can be devastating to ecosystems. That’s why the Riverdale, Michigan-based installer Michigan Solar Solutions has assumed responsibility for the recovery of the country where it had established its headquarters.

In 2016, Michigan Solar Solutions (MSS) purchased a former golfer’s driving range that had been abandoned for 10 years. The 35-acre property by that time had become a breeding ground for fall olive trees, a plant species invasive to Michigan. MSS has removed the 30-acre autumn olives and replaced them with native grasses and flowers with the aim of making the land a haven for wildlife.

In addition, MSS installed 20 bat and bird houses, some built specifically for owls, bluebirds and ducks. The company is looking for a local beekeeper to bring some beehives to the site as well.

In addition to the natural efforts, MSS’s headquarters is net zero and produces more solar power than it consumes. Instead of building a new office when purchasing the property, MSS rehabilitated an existing building. All lights were replaced with LEDs, a solar-powered attic fan was added, solar-powered skylights were installed in the roof to add more natural light, and a 28-panel PV array was installed on the roof.

MSS took the environment one step further by converting the building to air-to-air heat exchangers to remove propane. To compensate for that extra electrical load, MSS found the opportunity to test the latest solar panel technology at the time and installed two Panasonic, two LG and two Jinko half-cell panels.

As operations expanded, MSS built an off-grid pole building that utilizes an OutBack Power Technologies energy storage system. It serves as the company’s licensing, service, and sales processing department and houses the warehouse and crews in mid-Michigan.

The company’s latest addition to the property is an electric vehicle charger that encourages community members to stop, charge their vehicles and walk across the land. There is a mile long trail that runs through the fields and forests that MSS manages.

The Solar Energy World Top Solar Contractors awards program is part of our annual Top Solar Contractors list.

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