The MAREC Minute: July 2013



July  2013  Issue, Vol. 5, No. 2 & 3 (combined issue)                                                                           Past Newsletters

   C O N T E N T S

Message from the Director

MAREC with Solar Center and PV test bed.

MAREC in summer 2013, with the new Solar Center and Solar PV Test Bed at left. (See story)

Collaboration, Incubation, Innovation, Tech Transfer:  these represent some of today’s clichéd vocabulary as well as common phraseology in our world of business and technology development. These words were less common coin for most of us five years ago and now we mutter them with finesse in our sleep.

Oh, and did I mention Entrepreneur, someone who practices Entrepreneurism? Based on the frequency that descriptor is used in email, Twitter, and other social media as well as in old-fashioned print products, it would appear that if we don’t have at least one in each of our immediate households, we are all headed for personal financial ruin.  The world of work has surely changed…as has the vocabulary used to describe it.

Yet, as I reflect on daily activity at MAREC, I must admit that the sometimes over-used words and phrases do, in fact, accurately represent the wide range of activities underway here daily. Snapshots of recent and upcoming activity featured in this issue of The MAREC Minute reflect our “new” vocabulary and represent just a portion of what fills each day.

As I write this in early July and think about the week ahead, I am reminded of a leading Dutch energy technology company that we will host later this week along with others to introduce them to business leaders and technology development opportunities in West Michigan. Also this week we will meet with a Michigan-based inventor (yes, entrepreneur!) who may be on the cusp of a significant energy innovation and who may benefit from MAREC support services. Later this month, MAREC advisors will gather with lakeshore area business leaders to discuss the long-term vision for MAREC and how to leverage new opportunities for local communities and the region.

Taken together, these represent our mission: to support business development, innovation, energy alternatives and to advance new technology. Darn those clichés, but I think we’re on track and making it happen. Good summer all!

Arn Boezaart, Director


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National Speakers featured in Community Solar Workshop

PV solar array at Every Woman's Place, Muskegon.
Advantages of community solar projects will be explored at MAREC. Above, a  community solar-size PV installation at Every Woman’s Place in Muskegon.

MAREC is presenting “A Roadmap to Community Solar,” a four-week series that will help participants learn how to launch a community solar project that will develop renewable energy by pooling resources, reducing individual risk, and maximizing the benefits of solar energy for local communities.

The “Roadmap” will run Tuesday evenings at MAREC from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm, from July 9 through July 30.

This solar series will feature expert presenters and practitioners from Michigan and beyond.  Cost is $60.00 for all four sessions. Speakers will include:  

  • Anya Schoolman, founder of the Community Power Network, Washington, D.C.;
  • Sara Bronin, program director for the Center for Energy and Environmental Law, University of Connecticut;
  • David Konkle, community solar project coordinator, Great Lakes Renewable Energy Association;
  • A panel of local experts.

The workshops are co-sponsored by the Great Lakes Renewable Energy Association. For more information, contact Kim Walton at or (616) 331-6907.

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Conference to Tackle Renewable Energy, Energy Efficiency, and Policy for Agriculture

Combine photo by Andrea Broughton, Michigan Ag Council.  Join us Thursday, July 25 at MAREC!

A conference hosted by MAREC on July 25 will bring together business representatives, members of the agriculture sector and experts from Michigan State University and Grand Valley State University.  

Sponsored by the Michigan Agri-Business Association, the Right Place, and MAREC, the conference will feature multiple topics, including business and agricultural applications of renewable energy and energy efficiency and their impact on rural economic development.

The public is welcome to attend; there is no cost to attend but registration is requested. 

More Info Register Here

Speakers will include representatives of:

  • Novi Energy
  • Zeeland Farm Service
  • Michigan State University
  • Midwest Energy Group
  • Michigan Agricultural Commodities
  • The Right Place   
  • Warner, Norcross and Judd

The conference runs from 8:30 am to  noon, followed by  lunch.



Conference sponsors - MABA, Right Place, MAREC.


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Wind Turbine Foundation Technology Highlighted August 15

Glosten Pelastar (TM).
With new technology, the Glosten Pelastar™ may reduce wind turbine cost and impact.

New wind turbine platform innovations will be the focus of a technology briefing at MAREC on August 15, with a presentation by Charles Nordstrom, naval architect and marine engineer with Glosten Associates, an international marine engineering and consulting firm based in Seattle, Washington.

Nordstrom will speak about the potential of tension leg platform (TLP) technology and what it may mean for the development of offshore wind energy generation in the Great Lakes and other marine environments. As the potential for offshore commercial-scale wind energy development in the Great Lakes is explored, new technologies such as TLP may be adding promising new options for sustainable energy development and reduction of cost and potential environmental impacts.

Glosten Associates has developed Pelastar™, a deep-water wind turbine floating platform system using TLP that may eliminate the need for construction of turbines permanently anchored on lake or ocean bottoms.  Some have called it “the next generation of marine wind turbine platform design.”

The public is welcome to attend; there is no cost to attend but registration is requested. 

More Info  |  Register Here


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Innovation After Hours Attracts Entrepreneurs for Networking

Guests enjoying the inaugural Innovation After Hours networking event, May 2013. A new event, Innovation After Hours, attracted 75 guests to MAREC on May 21. Offered jointly by the Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce, Muskegon Inventors Network, e-merge West Michigan, and MAREC, the event allowed local and regional science and technology innovators to meet entrepreneurs and business professionals who could help turn ideas into business opportunities.

Mike Olthoff, a principal of the Muskegon Angels investor group, offered remarks, and guests experienced pitch demonstrations from area entrepreneurs Orville Crain of Klever Innovations and Matt Lepard of Conpoto.

The next Innovation After Hours event is scheduled for September 17 at MAREC.  Attendance is free; registration is requested.


Innovation After Hours September 17, 2013

More Info and Register


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Third Season Records Wind Data at New Site

GVSU'S WindSentinel buoy.

With assistance from Andrie Inc.’s Specialized Division, the GVSU WindSentinel is on station. Pictured are Andrie crew.

With the GVSU WindSentinel research platform successfully anchored six miles off the Muskegon County shoreline, MAREC began its third year of a three-year Lake Michigan wind study on April 27.

Using sophisticated laser pulse technology to measure wind data at various heights, the buoy is also transmitting real-time wind data to GVSU engineering faculty.

Along with wind data, the research platform also collects atmospheric and wave conditions on the lake, basic water quality information and bird and bat data. The information is being collected for researchers and potential wind turbine developers on Lake Michigan.

Initial project funding from the U.S. Energy Department funding runs out after this season, says Boezaart. GVSU will own the wind research buoy and but is seeking partners to deploy the platform in 2014 and beyond.


More at

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MAREC Receives Grant to Study Solar Thermal Systems

Solar test bed at MAREC, part of Michigan Energy Office grant.MAREC is studying solar thermal system costs and efficiency improvements for use in Michigan’s climate, thanks to a grant from the Michigan Energy Office.

Kim Walton, program director for MAREC, said some large solar energy systems being installed in West Michigan are based on design criteria from other parts of the country, and may not be optimal in West Michigan.

"Very little solar research has been done in West Michigan,” she said. “Learning how different factors interact can help solar installers design the most efficient systems and lower the costs.”

The $44,000 grant will fund data collection over a one-year period. Walton will collect data from homes in the Muskegon-Oceana area that received renewable energy systems through a 2011 USDOE Sustainable Energy Resources for Consumers grant. The data to be collected includes the type of technology used, mounting factors, and costs for materials, labor, fees and permits.

Data will also be collected from photovoltaic (PV) panel test beds recently installed at MAREC. The test beds consist of PV panels with micro inverters configured to provide specific output data for varied solar panel angles and the effects of snow cover.

The PV test beds stand next to MAREC’s Solar Center, which houses solar equipment for research and training.
Walton states while the study is funded for one year, data will be gathered for several years. To learn more, contact her at or (616) 331-6907.

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MARS Rovers student robotics team from Muskegon.

MARS Robotics get MAREC boost

For technology innovation and entrepreneurism to succeed, it needs to take root early in the educational process.  MAREC actively supports efforts to advance STEM education — increasing student exposure to science, technology, engineering and math.
Efforts like the Muskegon Area Robotics Students (MARS) Rovers are excellent examples of STEM, and MAREC director Arn Boezaart recently visited this team to see STEM in action first-hand. The Rovers are a team of  Muskegon area high school students participating in FIRST,® an international organization that uses robotics competitions to get K-12 students excited about science and technology.  

Each year, high school students design and build 150-pound robots by themselves, using state-of-the art technology and the help of a few adult mentors.  By competing in regional tournaments, they gain experience and points; in only their second year of competition, the MARS Rovers finished the 2013 season ranked in the upper half of more than 200 Michigan teams.  

To showcase their skills, the MARS Rovers have been invited to demonstrate their robot, named Discobolus for its Frisbee-throwing abilities, at the Innovation After Hours event on September 17 at MAREC.

Team organizers are encouraging area companies to become sponsors so the MARS Rovers can help more Muskegon students advance in technology fields.  For more information, contact mentor Mike Gerstweiler of Pribusin, Inc. at and visit .

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Expanding Energy Expertise

In April, Kim Walton, MAREC program director, completed the Photovoltaic (PV) Instructor Training program through the Michigan Solar Energy Network and the Midwest Renewable Energy Association. This is the beginning of the process that will result in MAREC and GVSU being accredited by the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc. (IREC).

IREC is the leading credentialing body for program accreditation and instructor certification in the energy efficiency and renewable energy industry.  IREC credentials will enable MAREC to offer classes that lead to certification for renewable energy installers from the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP).


MAREC's Kim Walton teaches Forest Hills students during Earth Week 2013.Kim Walton is assisting the GVSU School of Engineering in developing a class on Renewable Energy. It will be open to engineering and non-engineering students, starting in January, 2014.

For Earth Week in April, Walton also presented renewable energy topics to students at Central Woodlands 5/6 School in the Forest Hills Public School District near Grand Rapids.  


AWEA Conference 

AWEA logo.MAREC representatives joined GVSU faculty and staff in presenting wind energy data at the WINDPOWER Conference and Exhibition — the largest annual wind energy event in the world — in Chicago May 6-8.

Arn Boezaart, MAREC director, Charlie Standridge, assistant dean of the Padnos College of Engineering and Computing; and Jim Edmonson, project manager for GVSU’s Lake Michigan Offshore Wind Assessment Project shared information about the project.
“It’s important that Grand Valley has a presence at these kind of events,” said Boezaart. “We did a lot of networking with others with possible interest in using our technology and data from the offshore wind project. We also learned about new technology and trends in the wind industry.”

ASES logo. ASES Conference 

Kim Walton presented a paper entitled “Benefits of renewable and domestic energy technologies for income qualified homes” at Solar 2013, a national conference hosted by the American Solar Energy Society (ASES) in Baltimore, Maryland April 15 -19.

This was the first of a series of papers from MAREC examining the data collected from installations in Muskegon and Oceana Counties paid for by a federal SERC grant (visit for background). 

Walton will also be presenting portions of this data at the International Solar Energy Society fall conference. 

Business Development

  • When the Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce recognized the "Future 15" young leaders of Muskegon on June 17, among them was Chad Lawie, founder of, a MAREC incubator tenant.  The new recognition program by the Chamber and MLive seeks to recognize the efforts of the area's young up-and-coming leaders.
  • Logical Lighting Systems successfully completed an almost three-year stay at MAREC and has moved to another Muskegon location with larger space where it will expand its business.  Congratulations and best wishes to Jason Jesperson, founder of Logical Lighting, on his “graduation” from MAREC!

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Page last modified July 23, 2013